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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  August 3, 2009 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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>> facilitate mergers if necessary and/or provide capital assistance undercapitalized federal home loan bank's. and finally, the bank system faces challenges to ensure more consistency and disclosures and a candidate and an excellent move, the banks develop a strong common private-label securities valuation process for the second quarter to ensure timely filing. the consistency of the combined statement of the federal home loan bank's joint office of finance needs to be strengthened while ensuring that individual bank boards retain their responsibility for their financial statements. fhfa is issuing a notice of proposal and will may can today to expand the office of finance board of directors to all 12 presidents. from only two today, and to increase the number of independent directors up to five independent from only one today. now let me turn to the challenges facing fannie mae and
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freddie mac. and their critical role in the mortgage market. the enterprises today own or guarantee $5.4 trillion in outstanding mortgages. this next slide shows the history of the banks in the last 12 years. a little complicated up there so let me try to explain it to you. the enterprises are in gold. fhfa -- no, fha and va, veterans in green and others mainly private sector in blue. from 1997 through 2003, fannie mae and freddie share, that top line up there, gradually grew to almost 55%. then it fell very rapidly from 2004 to 2006, as the private market predominated. and because of their accounting problems, and our resulting extra capital charge of 30% and our capping their portfolios,
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they felt to less than 35%. then you can see as the market started to freeze up in 2007, their market share took off and was 73% of all new mortgages is originated last you. and also the same% in the first quarter. despite the gyrations in market shares over the years, their business in that gold part has actually maintained a pretty stable over the last five years. on the other hand, fha and va has grown very rapidly in size and market share to over 22%. over the long term, this hiked gse and government share is unhealthy. because of mortgage assets were considered very safe, the 1992 law that established our predecessor agency required the agency to deem the gse's adequately capitalized at extremely high leverage ratios. the enterprise could leverage mortgage credit over 200 to one,
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and market risk almost 50 to one. we knew this was absolute power will. recognizing the systemic risk of fannie mae and freddie mac, they'll work for many years to obtain legislation to give us greater authority over their capital and/or portfolios. it was my top priority from day one. although here it came much too late to prevent the conservatorship it did pay to wait for treasury to apply funding for the gse's, if needed. as it turned out, we all know that some mortgage assets were not safe. i have already mentioned the $167 billion private-label security book, which threw the first quarter produced about $69 billion in losses. fha is closely watching the enterprise management of credit exposure in this environment. it is important that the enterprises set aside adequate loss reserves.
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in the last year, despite very actual low lawsuits under losses in the bottom partner, they have grown very rapidly in reserving, and we applaud that. reserves at fannie r. 42 billion at freddie 22 billion. by early september, it was clear there was no other choice in the conservatorship that the going to provide stability, liquidity and affordability to the market. we were close to what the treasury secretary and was chairman of the federal reserve. if we had not taken that action, the enterprises pulled back from the market would have accelerated the downward spiral and cause a far worse crisis. this did not happen because they made a possible to support the enterprises and they have. treasuries $200 billion senior preferred facilities for each company has really provided an
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effective guarantee by ensuring each enterprise as a positive net worth, 85 billion has been drawn so far. treasury has purchased over 160 billion other mortgage-backed securities. to also have a liquidity facility at fannie, freddie and the federal home loan bank, but that has never been tapped. the federal reserve board is also working to reduce mortgage rates. the fed has purchased an amazing 680 billion of its now one and a quarter clean dollar in ds purchase program for they have also purchased over 105 billion in fannie, freddie and federal home loan bank debt of a targeted 200 billion. and total as you can see, their investments in the housing gse's exceed $1 trillion out of an indicated commitment of 2 trillion. these effects have a very positive impact on mortgage rates. mortgage rate, that top line on 30 year mortgages, have dropped
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below 5% for almost three months from over 6.5% prior to the conservative shia. they rose for a short period back to almost about 5-foot four and now hovering about five-point you. the bounce back slow the refinancing boom we saw, but mortgage rates are still attracted at these low levels. we recognize our duty as conservative means just that, in surveying the of fannie and freddie. and it's a topical. one of the reasons that fannie and freddie had so many problems is that they had a short-term profit maximization focus. as conservator, we must avoid that trap and focus on longer-term results. in particular, with my $.4 trillion of mortgage disclosure, stabilizing the housing market is by far the best way to conserve assets. that is why preventing
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foreclosures that destabilize families and neighborhoods is so important. over the long term, effective mortgage modifications omri financing and even short sales will save the enterprises many billions of dollars. helping to stabilize the mortgage market through the making of home affordable program is a key challenge. fannie mae and freddie mac play a role in both the home affordable refinance plan, harp, and the home affordable modification plan, have, which is together could reach seven to 9 million homeowners over the next few years, and a key goal is to help them stay in their homes. this is a massive undertaking, which is already reaping benefits for american homeowners. we currently signed up 34 servicers representing 80 to 85% of all the mortgages in the country. there have been over 300 file
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modifications to borrowers with over 200,000 loans entering the trial period, and that is a three-month period. half of them are owned by fannie mae and freddie mac. sent march 2009, fannie mae and freddie mac have refinanced over 2 million loads. 56000 of them are through the harp program. multifamily has become a very important challenge. the enterprises are working to stabilize the mortgage by keeping multifamily mortgage market by keeping it liquid, supporting affordable renting housing, and ensuring consistent credit principles. as of march 2009, the enterprise combinable by family portfolios has grown to $340 billion. and their market share is growing rapidly, up from 34% in 2006 to 84% last year. we are reminded daily of the economy has had a very real
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effect on families, as job losses, and a plummeting home values have put enormous pressure on people and caused millions to lose their homes. that is why i'm so proud of the work of fannie mae, freddie mac, fhfa, and the servicers have done on implementing making home affordable. president obama has stated that the enterprises will continue to play a key role in helping the mortgage market recover. the administration has announced it will make a proposal in february of next year on the future of fannie mae, freddie mac and the federal home loan bank's. i think it's crucial before reviewing the wide variety of possible legal and ownership structures, and i know a lot of people here have different ideas. we have to ask ourselves if key question. what we want the secondary mortgage market to look like wax that answer should shape the decisions on how to structure
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the enterprises. that have to be the first principle, as we evaluate those options. our second principle is that the enterprises should have a well-defined and internally consistent mission, which would not require the excessive risk-taking as it did in the past. a third principle is that they should be -- there should be a much clear demarcation of the roles of government and the private sector in the secondary mortgage market. any federal risk bearing should be explicitly and at a natural cause or the old of private for robert ownership underwritten by a complicit government guarantee allow the enterprises to become so leveraged that they did pose a large systemic risk to the u.s. economy. the fourth principle is to create a regulatory and government and and to structure.
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capital requirements need to be strong and countercyclical. better governance, underwriting and risk based pricing will be needed. the fifth principle is that housing finance should be subject to supervision that seeks to both contain the riskiness of the individual institutions, but also for systemic risk associated with housing finance. going forward, we should seek to better monitor and prevent the buildup of excessive risk caused by input and practices, and the title would effect on the entire economy. fhfa's membership in the newly proposed financial services oversight panel council which will oversee systemic risk will be an important step in that direction. i cannot over emphasize the need for countercyclical policy. there are three primary reasons that we need more countercyclical policies.
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the first to curb those asset bubbles and dampen credit cycles. the second is to improve the odds that an institution can survive a crisis. and the third is to reduce the action of a part of a distressed financial institution that can reduce the availability of credit to sound borrowers and choke off economic recovery. we need new policies to encourage financial institutions to build up capital reserves in good times instead of having to rebuild capital in bad times. such policies include secular capital requirements, provisions for loan reserves, retained earnings levels and credit prices. this draft extends that housing price index i use before it goes back 20 years. and you can see there is a long period from 1990 through 2001 that house prices were below
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trends. and then a period when house prices rose very rapidly above trend. one way of making capital requirements more countercyclical would be to increase them as a real house prices rise above that trend. this approach could strengthen financial institutions, limit bubble formations and lessened the contradiction mortgage credit and housing prices fall. with those rentals in mind, we consider -- it is now appropriate to consider the potential structure for enterprises. though structures must ensure a vibrant secondary mortgage market. there are three basic options for the future structure of the enterprises. very simply, a government agen agency, and improved gse structure would be the second one, a fully private firms. the first option is nationalization of the enterprise. in my career, i have worked in
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several government insurance programs, and i know that government insurance programs are a high risk and full of moral hazards. it is often difficult in a political environment to calculate to chart an actual fair price, avoid and keep the federal risk and increasing. therefore, i am opposed to nationalization. but there are some risks such as social security longevity. that means how long people live. that are too big for the private sector. mortgage catastrophic risk may be one such risk. a possibility would be the government to provide catastrophic reinsurance in the secondary mortgage market funded by actuarial sound premiums paid by britches abating company. such a program would also serve as another countercyclical tool. the second alternative would be new and improved gse's, building
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upon the legislation that was signed a year ago and also would have much smaller portfolios. a public utility model would be established, it has also been suggested. a stream care must be taken, and this is important. extreme care must be taken to conflict always present in a gse model the tension between the private profit and the public burdens. a third option to establish purely private-sector firms is liquidity to mortgage market. with or without government catastrophic insurance. private firms that offer greater competition and increase benefits to consumers. others have suggested private-sector mortgage. it is crucial that we get restructuring done right for the u.s. and world economy. and all present and future homeowners and renters.
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the new structures must be designed to reduce risk rather than magnify them as they have in the past. in the meantime, we must continue to do our critical job of helping to stabilize the mortgage market, and thereby stabilize the gse's finances and the u.s. economy. all of us, fhfa, and gse employees market participants and the government must continue to work together to meet the challenges that i have spoken about so that on our second anniversary we can celebrate that recovery and have some balloons. speaking of anniversaries, i started my government career 40 years ago in the navy, becoming an officer on the deck of a nuclear ballistic submarine. 20 years later when i was sworn in by elizabeth dole as the head of the pension benefit corporation, she said that exteriors would help me navigate the rough seas of underfunded pensions. well, the experience helped her there, and other troubled seas
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in my government career, social security, fao and now fhfa. like the mortgage world i truly know what it is like being underwater for a long time. the financial markets took the first of last altered my submarine surfaced every time and so will the mortgage market. thank you. i will be happy to answer any questions. [applause] >> there will be some mics around. i will be happy to answer any questions anybody might have. feel free. back there. >> on the potential future capital injections by the treasury as you mentioned so far, treasury has invested
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5 billion in senior preferred. can you give us your preferred sense of where that is going to go from here? you anticipate needing future capital over the next, say, 12 months? >> i am certainly anticipating needing additional injections over the next 12 months. you know, the banks with you or the top 19 banks went to a stress test process, and we run fannie and freddie to a similar stress test process. and we certainly see even in a stress test scenario that they should not reach that 200 billion each. certainly, given those large mortgage books of my $.4 trillion, there certainly will be additional losses on their books, from the 2005, 2007 book, and some of the lower quality stuff they wrote at that point. and they will continue to be increasing reserves.
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>> back there. >> you discuss the noncredit rebate losses on the federal home loan bank associated with private-label securities. have the federal home loan bank expect any actual credit losses on these securities, or all of them being held for sale, or are they trading securities? >> well, the portfolio is held to maturity in the federal home loan bank's aunt fannie and freddie is actually available for sale. they have incurred, as i said, a significant other than temporary impairment. and that is because the underlying mortgages have defaulted heavily and they do cash flow significant analysis for cash flow, and project them
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out. and they show the triple-a layer will be impaired at sometime in the future, and therefore they have taken impairments related to credit losses. and every quarter they go through a very rigorous process to reevaluate that. and they are finalizing that right now as it looked to put up their numbers in the next couple of weeks. okay? >> so assuming the restructuring is some form of will come out of this, do you think you'll make enough money to pay that back or that has to be canceled out? >> that's a good question. will they make enough money to pay the government back? my view, and not always shared with everybody, but my view is that some assets in the senior preferred will have to be left behind as they come out of
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conservatorship. and that will mean that some of the losses will never be repaid. again, when you are writing mortgages over 100 to one capital structure, even those relatively small losses and serious delinquencies i showed up there, compared to 5.4 trillion, just means that the capital was nowhere near adequate when they run through it. they want to alter common, they run through all their preferred and with that 85 billion, they are at zero net worth. and we are hoping that the activities that are undertaken in the home of affordable program, both the modification and the refinancing will help stabilize the mortgage market, and a lot of those stress centers will not happen. and that over time we will see significant stabilization in their book. by the book is so large that it is hard to see that they could actually repay off.
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>> right here. sorry. do it there and then one up here. okay. is coming to you. >> just a couple of questions. will be a formal announcement of the extension of the conservatorship? the market are looking for some certainty in relationship to fannie and freddie play in the market. the second question is, there is talk of hearings this fall on fannie and freddie on the hill. you are part of the intergovernmental task force. what role will your task force play in sort of embedding this whole future of the enterprises? >> first of all, on the conservatorship, the conservatorship to my mind will last until the mortgage market starts to recover and they can attract private capital and congress makes up their mind about the future structure of fannie and freddie.
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as was announced in the regulatory reform package last month, treasury and hud are working on proposals and working very closely with them, and the president working group on proposals for the future of freddie and fannie. i am sure that there will be a lot of hearings. we have already had one a month or so ago with house financial services, and i would like to see is a lot of good ideas out there, but again, we need to focus, and that's what i keep saying, we need to focus on what we want the secondary mortgage market to look like in the future. it has been so important for the housing finance and the mortgage market in this country over the last 75 years, that it is extremely important we get it right. of course, my exteriors unfortunately with government programs is we don't always get it right. at the pension benefit guaranty corporation, i probably almost have been less than 40 year history. so i think it is really useful
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to have this dialogue over the next year or so to really look through that there is alternatives and model them out, work with fannie and freddie and the federal home loan bank's, and work with all the interest groups to try to put together a program and a new set of guidelines and structures for these companies so that they continue to serve their extremely important mission for the u.s. and the economy. were there any other questions? one back there. >> do you have any concerns that the treasury would not be able to provide additional support after december 31, 2009? >> the senior preferred facility does not have an end date on a. the senior preferred facility have 200 billion each for the two gics for the enterprises fannie mae and freddie mac is there until it is used up.
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and as i said, we have been doing stress tests and the stress tests we have run, it would not be used up. the liquidity facility does expire at the end of this year. it has not been used. whether it needs to be extended or not, we will be looking at. they have ample liquidity. they are borrowing short-term at extremely tight rates at this point. and the market is very, very healthy for short-term gse debt. okay. i think i will in the question. now would bring up the panelist. let's talk about some of those reports, and certainly thank you all for your questions. what we will do, come on up. what we're going to do is we will have three of the four panelists discuss reports, and then we will have another q&a session after that.
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and i will also be here if we need -- if you have anymore questions you want for me as well. and demarco, which already met, is going to start off. he is the senior deputy chief operating officer and head of one of our three key divisions. and that's the mission division. steve cross is the deputy director for bank regulation, and that means the federal home loan bank system. and all 12 banks and the office of finance. and then pat lawler is our chief economist, been with the agency almost since the start, 15 years or so. and has been a very valuable member of the team. so without i would just turn it over to ed.
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>> good morning again. let me begin by thanking and acknowledging director lawler and the entire fhfa team for their commitment to the agency. including the agency's affordable housing mission responsibilities. the director has already struck, the last year has been hectic for the entire agency during a historic time in financial markets. in creating fhfa, congress directed that the new agency have three divisions focus on the agency's core mission. division of enterprise regulation, division of home loan bank regulation, and a division focused on the housing on the housing mission and goals of all the housing gse's. as a senior deputy director for the division of housing, i'm going to take the next few minutes to review for you three items we are sending today to the federal register pertaining to the housing gse's mission
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activities. before i go into specifics, however, i would like to know that others saw four years safety and sounds of mission oversight of the gse's in one agency. i appreciate congress doing just that in hera and i would say that the product i'm about to describe describe the collaborative effort both a those involved in soundness registration and those focused on affordable housing activities. especially in light of the volatility and risk in housing markets today, such collaboration has been essential to developing a balanced approach for our rulemaking or i would also point out that the team responsible for the three product i'm about to describe comprised of staff that came to fhfa from hud, federal housing finance board and fao. now let's turn to the three rules we are submitting today, starting with an interim final rule involving the federal home loan bank's.
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in hera congress provided a home loan banks temporary authority to use their own affordable housing program set aside funds which are used to assist first time homebuyers. to assist low and moderate income households refinanced their mortgages. and as background, the affordable housing program was a substantive program financed by assessment on the home loan banks and operated by them to direct subsidies in support of rental and owner occupied housing for low and moderate income housel. last october, we issued an interim final rule providing for subsidies that facilitate these financing under hud's poor home program. today we are extending those benefits to mortgage refinance activity by eligible households that refinancing their mortgages through the administrations own affordable refinance program. through refinance programs offered by state and local
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housing finance agencies, and through other targeted finance programs. as you can see on the screen, this program provides direct subsidy to low and moderate income homeowners defined as having income up to 80% of the area medium. under the terms of the new rule, the funds may be used to assist the homeowner pay down principal as part of the refinance, or baby used to offset closing costs. what is also important to know, the program is meant to work in concert with other initiatives assisting these household to stay in their homes while getting the benefit of today's lower mortgage interest rates. let me now turn to the afore the housing goals for fannie mae and freddie mac. under hera, the 2008 a portal housing goals automatically became the 2009 goals unless the director determined an adjustment was necessary. director lockhart did make such a determination as the
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deteriorating conditions in the mortgage markets they does 2008 goals, which hud established back in 2004, infeasible. clearly mortgage markets have changed dramatically since then and we concluded that those original goal levels were not feasible for 2009 so in late april, we published a proposed will for the 2009 rules, and after considering public comments received, today are announcing the final goal targets as established in the rule we are sending to the federal register. the goals may be divided into three groups. free printable goals covered both single-family and multi-family mortgages supported targeted borrowers. three home purchase of goals, and a supple and that multi-family mortgages supporting affordable housing. relative to the proposed rule we published in april, we have lowered the three housing goals,
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left unchanged the three home purchase subgoals, and we are increasing the multi-family subgoals. focusing first on the general housing goals, we have set the low and moderate income goal at 43% of mortgage acquisitions, the underserved goal at 32% and the special affordable goal at 18%. while there are a number of factors that cause us to lower the goals from the proposed level, at least three stand out. the substantial share of mortgage activity this year that are refinances, the substantial supply decline and the curtailment of private mortgage insurers activity, which has resulted in significant share of new lending shift into fha that the director described. in this next slide, as i mentioned, the home purchase
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subgoals are being kept at their proposed levels. one goal that did increase from its proposed level is the special affordable mobile chemical. this go is a dollar -based goal, not percentage. we have set a goal at six-point half-billion for fannie mae. they were at five and a half in 2008. and freddie's goal is set at 4.6 billion as compared to 3.9 last year. while multi-family lending volume has been drinking, the enterprises share in this market has been increasing in their continued support for this market is critical. we view the goal levels we are setting as challenging in the current market environment, we believe that continued effort by the gse is to support sound business in this market segment is needed. these goals just covered 2009. as establishing the hera legislation, fhfa will be developing housing goals for 2010 to use a different
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statutory framework. as we think about how to establish goals in the future, we are considering how difficult it is to forecast and set affordable housing goals during normal market conditions, much less turbulent times such as these. for instance, the current market factors i mentioned earlier, the exodus of mortgage insurers, the number of refinances, and a much smaller multi-family market all had an adverse impact on our ability to forecast that the market would actually look like in 2009, even though we are already halfway through the year. congress recognized these challenges in hera and provided for the director to adjust the goals during the year in response to market conditions. we are considering how best to apply these concepts as we develop our proposed rule 42010, which we will publish later this year. in hera, in addition to changing the goals of framework, congress made a significant addition to
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the overall housing model. the first time, congress established that the enterprises should increase the liquidity of and expand investment in certain underserved markets. this new requirement is referred to in statute as the enterprises duty to serve requirement. it says that the enterprises should demonstrate leadership in developing loan products and underwriting standards to facilitate the secondary market from mortgages made to very low, low to moderate income households in three market segments. manufactured housing, rural communities, and preservation of affordable housing. to assist us in developing a duty to serve regulation next year, we are today sending to the federal register and advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in which we seek a
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broad, public comments on how best to implement this new requirement. as is typical of such documents, the anp are set out the statutory framework and then request public input in response to a series of questions posed in the participation of developing a proposed rule. in closing, i am thankful to my hard-working team for all their efforts in developing these products. and with that, i will turn the mike over to my colleague, steve cross. >> thank you. it is my pleasure to be here. i am the deputy director responsible for federal home loan bank regulation, and i'm here to talk to you about five endeavors. the first is a collateral study that we have undertaken pursuant
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to hera. and i wanted to apologize because i don't have eyes in the back of my head. i'm going to have to periodically look behind me to see exactly what is up there. hera requires that the fha conduct a study on the advances that home loan banks make to the members. that is their core business, loans to members. they are securitized loans. and on the nature of the collateral supporting those advances. in particular, the question that we were asked to investigate is the extent to which the loans that serve as collateral for those advances were made consistent with the interagency guidance on nontraditional mortgage products. today, we are delivering that study to the congress. and i think importantly, issuing
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it in the federal register and requesting comment on the analysis that we will consider, and then we will, as necessary, update the study. the principal aspects of the study are essentially the following. first, the fhfa and it's predecessor agency, the federal housing finance board, had issued three sets of guidance to home loan banks that were pertinent to this question. first, in 2005, we required the home loan banks to adopt anti-predatory lending policies into specifically established in those policies the acceptability of a collateral that had certain features, such as single premium credit life insurance, mandatory arbitration provisions, and
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prepayment penalties. all of the 12 home loan banks have adopted such policies, and through our examinations, we have worked with a home loan banks to make those policies more effective over time. secondly, in 2007, we issued guidance establishing our expectation that the home loan banks have a policies concerning nontraditional mortgage products and subprime mortgage products, both principally as eligible collateral for advances. third, in 2008, we issued guidance to the home loan banks that went a little bit further than the 2007 guidance and established that not only should they have policies with respect to a collateral, but also with
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respect to mortgage-backed securities and the loans that underlined those securities. and the acquisition of loans through their acquired member assets programs. all of the banks have those policies in place right now. the guidance that we issued was not retrospective in the sense that it did not establish that from that moment forward underlying collateral had to in all instances abide by the nontraditional mortgage guidance. instead, it went back to the time of the guidance to july of 2007 and said, any mortgages that a bank had -- that a member institution had acquired from that date forward must be in
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compliance with the interagency guidance. as of the end of 2008, the home loan banks had $900 billion of advances. of that, 1.4 trillion of collaterals supported those advances. within that collateral, approximately 270 billion, just less than 20%, was in the form of subprime or nontraditional mortgage collateral. the data that we had available to us was insufficient for us to identify the extent to which those mortgages abided by a collateral, but the principal finding in that regard was that
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of the $1.4 trillion in collateral, the overwhelming majority of abided by the guidance and that all of the banks had policies that require that they not accept any further collateral from their members. if that -- if those -- that do not abide by the policy. if those underlying mortgage loans were issued after the time of the interagency guidance being adopted. the second study that we are issuing today is a study on securitization by the federal home loan bank. this too was required by hera, and it required that we obtained
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public comment and consult with the homeland banks and experts in securitization and mortgage finance field in preparing our study. our study looked at the potential benefits of securitization for the home loan banks and the potential risks that it could pose to the homeland banks. clearly, securitization has benefits, increases the availability of mortgage credit. it can lower interest rates to some borrowers. but there are clear risks. this would be a new line of business for the home loan banks with the attendant market and credit operational risks associated with it, and it could affect existing lines of business and a cooperative structure of the home loan banks. further, the study discusses a number of questions surrounding the joint and several liability of the home loan banks and how it would in a react with the securitization and how investors and home loan bank debt might
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react to the bank involvement in securitization. ultimately, the study recommends that the agency and the federal government considers securitization by the federal home loan bank's only after critical uncertainties are resolved. principal among those uncertainties are the role of fannie and freddie and the ultimate resolution of the conservatorship of fannie and freddie among the alternatives established by director lockhart in his presentation. until then, the study suggests that the proper approach would be for the home loan banks to use existing federal home loan bank programs, including a program which is referred to as mpf after which allows home loan banks to essentially serve as a
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conduit passing loans through the home loan bank to fannie mae for securitization. it's a program targeted to enhance the ability of small and midsize members to use the services of fannie mae at an affordable price. we are also finalizing a prompt, corrective action rule. the fha issued the interim final rule on january 30, 2009. that rules specified for critical capital levels for the federal home loan bank's establishing that they would be adequately capitalized, or undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized and critically undercapitalized. in sending the final rule to the federal register, that rule will closely follow the interim final
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rule. to principal point i would like to make. first, the rule does not adopt a well-capitalized category, which was an issue that we introduced for comment. but indicates that the fhfa will consider that possibility as part of future amendments to the pca rule. in short, we think that there is a lot of merit in pursuing a well-capitalized category. but we did not believe it was warranted to delay the adoption of a final rule to deal with the issues surrounding the creation of a well-capitalized category, but it is something on which we will be working. secondly, the final rule extends from 10 to 15 days, business days, the amount of time given to an fhfa bank where required. the capital restoration plan is required whenever a bank falls
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below the well-capitalized category. and the process that is established by the rule is that we will send a bank a preliminary capital classification letter. they will have 30 days to respond to that letter. we will then review their response and the data that are in front of us, and we will then issue a final determination. banks will have 15 business days after that final determination to submit to us a capital restoration plan. some commenters requested a longer period of time. our view was that the process by which preliminary classifications are issued in 30 days provided at that point in time gives the home loan bank plenty of opportunity to develop, to begin developing a capital restoration plan prior
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to a final determination. i would briefly talk about cbi membership in federal home loan bank. we issued a rule on may 15 that would allow for cd fis they are specialized financial institutions with expertise serving low and moderate income communities to become members of federal home loan bank's at present, only. the rule that we issued or the proposed rule that we issued would allow cdfi's that are certified by the u.s. department of treasury's cfi fund to become members. that would not be automatic. they would have to submit financial data and information about their operations that
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would be evaluated by the fhfa in determining their eligibili eligibility. the eligibility requirements at fhfa in conjunction with the federal home loan bank. those eligibility requirements that involve financial health and the quality of management are comparable to those for other members. we received 78 comments on the proposed rule. generally favorable to the proposal, and we expect to issue a final rule prior to the end of this year. last thing i would like to discuss is our supervision program. we conduct annual examinations at all 12 federal home loan bank's and the office of finance. those exams are safety and soundness exams, targeted horizontal reviews where we are looking at a particular issue such as secured credit, across all 12 banks simultaneously.
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and they are affordable housing program exams. for the first time this year, we summarized the results of those examinations in the annual report to congress. in addition, the fhfa, our division working closely with the federal home loan bank's and the agency's office of the chief accountant have developed increased consistency among the federal home loan bank, particularly with respect to the recognition of other than temporary impairment of private labeled mortgage-backed security's. as the director noted, we will be issuing a proposed rule expanding the board of directors in the office of finance and establishing an independent audit committee for the office of finance and establishing the responsibilities of that audit committee. finally, during the year, we
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established enhanced liquidity standards for the federal home loan bank, standards to which all of the home loan banks are currently operating. i think you for your time and attention, and with that let me turn it over to my colleague, pat lawler, our chief economist. >> thank you, steve. i want to talk about one of the studies that we are sending to congress today. and a briefly mention how we are approaching another one. the study -- let's see. the study we are sending to congress today is fannie mae and freddie mac single-family guaranteed fees in 2007 and 2008. internet for congress asked us to do an annual study analysis of the guaranteed fees that fannie and freddie charge to
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protect buyers of the mortgage securities that are issued with their names on them. and they asked us in particular to look at the revenues and costs associated with the guarantees, factors considered in setting the fees, the level of fees and changes from the previous year, product and risk breakdowns, and differences in fees between the major loan originators and smaller institutions. in a nutshell, what we found is that fannie and freddie charge higher fees in 2008 than in 2007. that they charged more for mortgages that have higher risk characteristics, but that the increase in fees associated with those higher risk mortgages did not fully account for all of the expected costs that they anticipated using their models. and finally, that larger
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lenders, the major loan originators in the country paid smaller fees than smaller institutions paid. our focus was not on accounting data that show the fees on their total books of business, including loans made many years ago in reflecting the fees set those prior years. but rather, what they charged on new acquisitions in 2007 and 2008. this chart shows the average fees charged in the last two years on all single-family loans. the data include not only the annual fees paid over the life of the loan, not the one time fee is paid up front in the light blue. at the time the loans are delivered to the enterprises. for these fees, we have used in the enterprise model estimates
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of the annual equal and see. that is, if it had all been charged on an annual basis, what would the equivalent amount have been. for the amounts shown, the average of fannie mae and freddie mac because in these and other charge, differences in the models that they each use can be significant and comparisons between the two companies could be misleading. the average fee rose from 22 to 25 basis points, or $0.25 per hundred dollars over the two years. and that reflects higher rates, but also moderated by a lower risk mix of loans in 2008. and the fees charged depends on a variety of a borrower, property, loan type of risk factors. the outlook for future house prices. the target return on capital. and the degree of market
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competition. in 2008, there was less competition, and a poor outlook for home prices. having gone through 2007 and observe just how badly that turned out and out in adequate that these chart had been had been on the loans that were expensing losses or prospectively experiencing loss of. the fees unnaturally rose in 2008. we focus on three productize. accounting for 85 to 90% of the enterprises business. fees rose for all three types, from 2007 to 2008. we compared those fees to the expected costs over the life of the mortgages, including the target return to capital. because of the proprietary nature of the data, we removed the vertical scale, but qualitatively, what is shows is that the enterprises priced 30 years fixed rate loans below the
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levels of their models indicated would be necessary to earn a target rate of return. but they priced less risky 15 year fixed rate loans and more risky arm loans above the model price level. in effect, borrowers with the latter two types of loans were subsidizing the fixed rate 30 borrowers. we also look at how fees are buried by credit score, and of course, the higher risk loans were associated with higher fees. again, that these were higher for each category in 2008 than they had been in 2007. but the model indicated they would have had to pay substantially more than they did for the higher risk of loans to provide target rates of return. another important risk category is loan-to-value ratio.
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again, these rows in each category in 2008 with the riskiest category saying the most in each year. but also again, the riskiest categories got the best deals. on one side -- thank you. there we go. >> again, the riskiest categories got the best deal relative to the expected cost of these loans. with low lpd loans expected to provide greater than target rates of return and higher lpd loans less than target returns. and finally, we look at how fees buried among loan sellers of different sizes. those that did the most business with the enterprises paid the least, to a 7% less than the smallest lenders. the big letters are very important to the enterprises because the liquidity of the
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enterprises securities depend significantly on the enterprises total business volumes. so those letters that were able to help the enterprises boost those business volumes were able to drive much harder bargains than the smaller lenders were. there we go. all right. i will talk briefly about another study that we are in the process of doing on mortgage default modeling. the statute also required us to look at ways to improve the overall risk -- default risk evaluation use with respect to residential mortgage loans. and what we have done is partnered with the fdic that is having a symposium in arlington at the fdic's center on september 16, following their annual banking research
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conference we will have a one day symposium on improving assessment of the default risk of single-family mortgages. we have asked for research. we made a call for papers, and got 35 very excellent papers submitted to us, and we are selecting among those to produce a full day schedule. and we will have john quigley, internationally known mortgage finance expert to moderate the symposium and issue a report to congress on that at the end of october. thank you very much. . .
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since it is almost august, what do you have in mind interim final rule, a delayed goal of carryover of 09 to 2010 or something else? >> jeff, clearly you know, the volatility of this market is made it difficult to get 09 done as well and getting the organization's staff to do this. the goal is to have a notice proposed rulemaking for 2010 out by early fall, get that out there, get public comment and then have the 2010 goals rule established by the around the start of the year.
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>> i think your view is they are going to be have to be more dynamic in the future than they have in the past, the whole approach to setting them five years ahead did not work. >> right, so as they said we are looking at how the goals would be more responsive to what the actual market conditions look like, so that is something congress envisioned and something we are working into our thought process as we develop, develop a proposed rule. >> mr. directors hsinchu mentioned constraints, at least mention an acronym, h. pcc that alfred worked tirelessly on. sling enough and i commend the agency for its one-year anniversary having worked on the hill years ago i worked on similar legislation that created before this piece of legislation but it was interesting that in
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your successes or accomplishments that h. bcci was not listed and i would like to comment on that. >> you noticed in one of my, we have four strategies up there and one of the strategies with to set better standards and for the people that don't know if there's some people who don't know what hvcc stands for it is really basically better standards for appraisers. one of the problems that happened in the 2005/2007 period was that appraisers, certainly not all appraisers but some appraisers arms were twisted. they made too high appraisals to get the mortgage is done. that obviously hurt the financial is a and but more importantly it hurt the individuals in these houses that got too high an appraiser, appraisal and they were even more under water than they would have been otherwise, so setting higher standards, this i think is an important part of that.
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the appraisal role as you know it is designed to ensure the independence of appraisers. fannie and freddie put them out after a comment period and i think changed them pretty dramatically after that period. we are going through a rough start as all new things to but i think in the long run this will be extremely beneficial to the mortgage market and add to the safety and soundness of fannie and freddie and the whole market. okay, over there. >> director, in that lawler's comments if i understood some of the charts that rashawn had it appears that there was clear cross said standardization that were being charged and i am wondering if fhfa has a policy or whether they think that is an appropriate and whether that is going to continue? >> do you want me to take that one pat? >> i will start.
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definitely this lights show that the riskiest loans were not fully charged for the additional expected costs associated with them. in some cases, for example the over 95% l.t. the's a lot of those loans may have then related to what affordable housing programs. in other cases that may or may not be the case and future work in this area i think really needs to try and focus on that, but it is a practice or an outcome of the market that has produced this result and it is something i think we need to consider whether that is the extent to whether that is desirable. >> it is an interesting issue. i have been quoted that the affordable housing goals were too high, and fannie and freddie had to stretch to get them and that is one of the reasons that
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their book, one of several reasons that their book is suffering. on the other hand, they do have a mission, a public mission as the gses so it is something as we have to look going forward for golob that didn't come from 30 year mortgage is. it seemed to have come from, if you will, some of the lower risk areas like 15 year mortgages and some of the adjustable-rate mortgages. but, as going forward i think this is an important study and every year we will update it and look and get in more depth about how that works. and, i think it should be part of the debate about the future of freddie and fannie as we go forward and what the affordable housing mission is, should there be this cross subsidization. anything else?
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okay. no more questions? thank you very much for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> and look at the u.s. capitol
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here with u.s. senate gavels in at 2:00 p.m. eastern. first up on our general speeches, before turning to legislative work at 3:00. on the calendar more work on the $124.5 billion for agriculture spending. lawmakers will vote on the substitute amendment at 5:30 p.m. eastern. the senate begins debate on the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor to be in associates supreme court justice. follow the senate live on c-span2. on the other side of the capital, the u.s. house of representatives is in recess until september 8. more live house coverage then on our companion network, c-span. earlier today president obama talk about a post-9/11 g.i.bill which would provide comprehensive educational benefits to military men and women. we expect to hear more about that in today's white house briefing with spokesman robert gibbs. that is due to get underway momentarily, light on our component network, c-span.
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steve vice president biden was the featured speaker at this year's annual conference of the national urban league. we talked about the administration's strategy to stabilize the economy and how these initiatives are benefiting cities, minorities and small businesses. he is introduced by the group's president, former new orleans mayor marc morial. from chicago, this is about 40 minutes. >> 36 years in the united states senate. the ranking member, torture of
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the senate judiciary committee for 17 years. vice president biden was widely recognized for his work on criminal-justice issues, including the landmark 1994 crime bill and the violence against women act. as chairman-- [applause] ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee since 97, vice president biden played a pivotal role in shaping the united states foreign policy. he has been at the forefront of issues in legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post cold war europe, the middle east and southwest asia. urban leaders join me in giving
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a resounding welcome to the 47th vice president of the united states, the honorable joseph biden. [applause] >> thank you all very much. thank you folks. it is an honor to be here. thanks for having me. marc, it is good to be back with you again. i met mark's mom backstage and she reminded me that we met when i was a 32-year-old united states senator. she remembered exactly where we met. she remembers his house we were in, and mom, i am flattered you would remember me. she probably remembers i used to have hair, and that is even more
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flattering. market is great to be with you. you did a great job as the mayor in new orleans and you are doing a great job here as the ceo of the national urban league. [applause] i would be remiss-- i am told that america's mayor, mayor daley is in the audience here. i can't see up here mr. mayor bud if you are here thanks for the passport to come into town. there you are, mr. mayor, thank you very, very much. [applause] i understand that my colleague and a fellow a administration official, who he said jackson is here, the minister of the epa to is one of the best editions that the cabinet has made and i think, as she will tell you, i didn't make the new jersey governor capri-- cappi because i was her biggest booster to come and run the whole show so i am
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glad you are here. she really knows what she is doing. [applause] and a guide that, if i could do my job one tenth as well as he did his and does hismanal i would go down in the history books, but i don't have the talent he has, magic johnson. magic, just touch me, will you? just touch me. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, for 99 years, 99 years the urban league has been at this and after 99 years you have shaped the lives of millions of americans as well as american history and all for the better. i would argue that there is a greater need for you today in this new century, that even though it was 99 years ago, i just want to congratulate you, congratulate you not only for sticking with that but for the passion you have bread with it
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and in my own city of wilmington delaware, the urban league-- [applause] i didn't know you are all here. the urban league has revived a city and reintegrated the city in a way with all the incredibly talented african-american businessmen and women have now people, every major industry in my state are now back engaged in the communities, which they no longer live and which they care deeply about. so, your place in our needs is really high, and i really mean it when i say the country needs you more than at any time in the past. you know, you have stared down, the urban league has stared down some tough periods in american history and the urban league has never backed down. you have stuck to your core
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mission of fighting for economic justice and social justice and you have done it in good times and in bad times. you have boosted millions, millions of americans out of poverty in the middle class. you have kept your mission and your mission has always been, as you know better than i do, harder, the harder the economic times are. these are particularly difficult economic times for the american people. a lot of people are having trouble holding on, not only the very poor but those who finally made it to the middle class and find themselves being economically disenfranchised again, feeling like they are falling back, white, black, hispanic, asian. the american people, who the vast majority of circumstances through no fault of their own find themselves and found
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themselves at the end of the last administration free falling. millions of americans are uninsured but the rate of the uninsured is much higher for african-americans. unemployment is unacceptably high for all americans but much higher for african-americans. we inherited what i referred to as the great recession. this recession is deeper, more complicated, more profound than any economic downturn america has seen since the great depression, particularly aggravating this are also some new economic realities of the past three decades. the world has gotten to a phrase we have all dues, flat and then much more complicated which is also made it more difficult to bust out of recessions quickly. we have learned through the recessions of the past three decades that one of the harshest realities of deep recessions,
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and this is the deepest, is that employment lags well behind economic growth. growth in the gdp. in the '70s and '80s, it gdp began to grow significantly and still unemployment did not and and only when it was really roaring did the employment picture began to add jobs to the economy. it is the nature. it is the nature of the world economy. we along with economists across the board, across the board when we were sworn in, even before we were sworn in new that something significant, something big had to be done to deal with these twin realities. our economic team put together an aggressive plan to deal with what we inherited. someone suggested we are trying to do too much.
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i would argue, how could we do less? how can we do less than what we are doing? [applause] we put in place a three-pronged approach to address the deepest recession since the great depression. remember, this was a recession borne out of a massive housing bubble inflated by excessive speculation and lax oversight of the financial industry and wall street, but the first thing we have to do was take care of the damage left by the housing bubble, to try to stop this cratering that was going on, so we pass the president's housing plan. we continue to work with mortgage lenders to keep responsible homeowners in their homes, to keep mortgages affordable for middle-class families all across america. the plan also has helped keep interest rates at historic lows, enabling millions of homeowners who are hanging on by their fingernails or hanging on barely to be able to refinance their
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mortgages and take advantage of this historically low rates, saving between 12 and $1,600 per year for the average middle-class family with a mortgage. then we had to go out and stabilize the financial system that was threatening to take down not only our economy but the world economy. people have short memories. remember that big a summit of the g-20? remember what we were talking about ed g8? the question that is can rationalize the system to keep the major banks in the country not only from being in the red but from shuttering their operations. so we passed the financial stability act. complicated and unpopular, but absolutely necessary to begin to stabilize financial markets. with this plan we had-- added
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liquidity. private capital markets now are reviving and investing in these banks and as a result banks are recapitalizing with private money through these independent investors. and then came the third piece of this three-prong strategy, the piece i would like to talk a little bit about today, the most misunderstood these and that is the american recovery and reinvestment act. the recovery act was not on its own as some may understandably or, i don't know what their motive is but some would have us believe it was not designed to be, as my grandfather would say, the horse that carried the whole slate. it had a purpose. it was one of three major initiatives. it, by itself, was not designed nor does it have the capacity to
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revive the entire economy. it was designed to restore, help us restore our economic health. it was one very important piece and a borns-- remains an important piece, maybe the most misunderstood piece of our policy. the whale like to talk about the recovery act is the recovery act really is three initiatives in one. eight is three important goals, relief, recovery and reinvestment. if you read the press and watch news accounts, many people let led to believe or maybe we have led them to believe actually inadvertently but a lot of people believe 787-- and i was talking to marc about this a moment ago, the $787 billion in that act was $787 billion designed to build roads, highways infrastructure. people are saying $787 billion, where is it all? the truth of the matter is, it
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is much more than that. because people thought that it is all about just reinvesting in the economy by directly building things and employing people. people are saying i don't see what it is doing. why is it doing more? as the urban league knows, the infrastructure part of this act was only one part of the act, less than one-third of it, gigantic but less than one-third. when we were putting together the act the urban league came in and met with our folks and with us, the president and me and pointed something out to wesley arthenia but needed to be reinforced. that a lot of people were falling through the cracks. al lot of people needed help. at latta people need immediate help and immediate relief that individuals and communities for failing fast and we had to do something quickly to keep them from falling any further.
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we had to act immediately, so one big piece of this act related to dealing with relief, to destress people and recently unemployed people. in only a few months we have already extended more than $4 billion in unemployment benefits, which will continue for the next 18 months. [applause] we have spent about $6 billion just in the first seven months, actually six months. we have spent $6 billion to lower the cost of health insurance for those who we know have lost their jobs. they wouldn't have any without this. we have already delivered $43 billion in tax relief to working families and businesses, 95% of the people who get withholding in their paychecks are getting 60 to $80 a month more in their paychecks than they were before.
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they needed help. if it mattered. we have added $20 billion for improving the food stamp program, which now serves 30 million more people, and half of them are children. [applause] folks, i say to our critics would you not have done this? would you have not have fed these 30 million people falling on desperate times? would you not extend unemployment insurance? would you not have provided for cobra, and funding to maintain their health care policy when you lost your job? through aid to the states, we have been able to save tens of thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers from being laid off, essentials people to the well-being of any community. for governors, two days ago in philly, each of them got up,
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talking about cops mr. mayor. each of them got up and pointed out what every governor but to that i have spoken to so far and i have spoken to every governor, have said, without the so-called counter-cyclical help to the states, they would be bankrupt. they would be in dire, dire shape. the governor from pennsylvania said, without this help i would have had to lay off an additional 10,000 firefighters, cops, teachers. in new york city alone, with an education that is great pressure on it, they had given over 14,000 teachers there notice that they would not be retiring next year, meaning september. this recovery act money, they
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are all going to be back in the classroom. it is not just that they have a job, but what it also means is, it also means, it also means that kids aren't going to have larger class sizes. they are going to learn better. it also means you are going to have all the help the school needs to deal with discipline problems and the mechanical responsibilities of running a school. and i might add and all of your states, where your schools are in fact run, funded by property taxes, absent over $100 billion that is in here for education, your property, he would have to do one of two things, ignore your education system to the point of hurting the students' interest or raise your property taxes but people don't know that, understandably. we have also provided more than $80 billion to states to preserve their ability to provide medicaid services,
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keeping roughly 20 million people from falling off the rolls of having no health care coverage. ladies and gentlemen, as a fancy name, called fmap, translated into regular speak like we all speak means the states, the states have to pay for part of the medicaid requirements that they provide. they didn't have the money. so we came along, not bail them out, but saved the health care availability for 20 million people, including many of them newly unemployed who have no alternative. before we even unpacked our bags in washington, we rushed to expand the schip program, state
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children's health insurance program. we extended health care benefits to 11 million more children who did not have it. [applause] so, folks, i could give you more aspects of the act but the bottom line here is what part of this act is about was people, not keeping people from falling through the cracks, keeping them from falling into a deep, black hole and i asked our critics, what would they have done? would they have led 20 million people fall off the rolls, medical coverage, people in poverty? in addition to providing desperately needed relief, which is about one-third of this act, we had to build what we believe and the president believes, we have to build a foundation for a newer and stronger economy.
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folks, look, here is where we start. middle class folks did not get their fair share of the last two expansions in america, and the president and i are determined that when we come out of this recession, and we will i guarantee you-- [applause] when we come out, we do not want people left behind. from 2000 to 2007, productivity in america grew by 20%. ..
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schematic rigor or the time were putting this together, people said we shouldn't be focusing on that. a lot of our critics, how can we compete in the 21st century? how can we compete in the 21st century? without a radically altered health care system, without a radically altered energy system,
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without a radically altered educational system. so part of this act, another big chunk of it, was all about laying this new foundation. but here is the difference. we not only wanted to lay a new foundation we wanted to make sure those people were a spy ring in the middle class, had a shot to get a piece of the action. so what did we do? let me give you one example. weatherization. $5 billion, i can pay a 5 billion. but any american can do, there's a lot of money, $5 billion total for weatherization. the cheapest, quickest, most certain way to reduce the carbon footprint, save energy consumption and reduce our reliance on foreign oil. so what did we do? we said we want state building, county buildings, federal buildings and public housing projects whether i'd.
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so what are we doing? we put a half a billion dollars in their, the labor department, to train people to become professional weather risers, to be able to assess the needs in homes, be able to install what is needed to reduce costs. and talk to our secretary of housing. cable to you about the program we have in public housing projects. not only to whether rise and allowing people to save 13250 bucks a year in their cause and those housing projects, but also to train close to 1 million people that are in those projects to take them and train them for the jobs of the future, say not only have a better angina, so when this recession is over they have a marketable skill. this is not a make or job. we want to make jobs that cannot be exported, and extend the
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opportunity as it recovers. my mother has said out of everything terrible, something good will happen. if you look hard enough. this is an opportunity. to do good as well as build a platform and provide a ladder for more people to get into the middle class. these are jobs, these folks will be able to keep. jobs of the future. small businesses also. are getting into the action. and our small-business loan program is making a difference. a full 20% of all of the recovery act, small business loans are guaranteed have gone to minority owned businesses. 20%. nobody knows it. that is a fact. [applause] >> look, right here in downtown chicago there's a salon owned by a woman named kim shackelford. she saved $2700 in fees and secured $150,000 loan because we
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guaranteed it, the african-american business owners receiving a note from an african-american bank that was willing to give the loan because the federal government was backing her. [applause] >> now she can enhance your business, the bank has a new customer, and people are going to be employed who otherwise would have been laid off or not have a job. look, we realized that a big part of this recovery is having the information you need. what contract opportunities are available? to build roads and highways and a deal with weatherization and all the things that people can do to deal. who is eligible for these opportunities? and my -- if i'm a small business worker, you need information. magic, i used to have a great friend who died of throat cancer. magic may be the only guy in your post may remember, he is not only no, but to remember the days when providence college had the great college fastball team,
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and he was a six man on that team, and pete died of throat cancer before he reached 50, but he had a great saying. academics work areas and forte, but he was a real smart guy. one of the things he said was joe, you have to know how to know. you got to know how to know. and, ladies and gentlemen, one of the things we need your help on, the urban league's help, we need you to help us reach out to help people know how to know they can participate in these programs. i'll give you another example. yesterday i called a cabinet meeting. the head of a small business operation in our operation. when it out to me that she is just able to put together a high-tech robotic minority form with the department of defense for significant contract. the department of defense didn't know this robotic firm existed. minority owned business didn't
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know how to get connected to be able to compete for these contracts. so part of the help we need is how do we help people know how to know what's available here. that's why i'm happy to announce today that i have charged two members of my recovery cabinet, -- misspoken. i call them, but they are barack's cabinet. [laughter] >> they are not mine. i have authorized the call to meeting that they are kind enough to do what i ask them, but they ain't mine, they are barack's. but they are part of his recovery team. and that's why they put this speech my, it ain't my. a former governor, gary locke, secretary of commerce and department administrator, administrator bills of the small
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business administration. they are making sure that the communities we care most about you have focused most on. get the help they need. get the help to compete to get in here and prosper. i am past and entire cabinet with the permission of the president to make sure we meet our commitment, to not only minority owned businesses, but to women and two veterans. they are among the highest unemployed rates in the country. so, starting next week, over the course of the next 90 days, the agencies across the entire government will be conducting workshops to educate small businesses, women and minorities, veteran owned businesses have they can better assess and gain information and opportunities that exist. come back with hard, detailed plans. mechanically, what are you going to do, how are you going to reach out. so in the next 90 days, and i mean this sincerely, and i talked about this with mark, we're going to meet next week,
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at least on a conference call, to have ideas how we can do that to reach out, to qualify people who, in fact, just don't know how to access this. we could use the help because in 90 days i want a hard and fast plan from every single cabinet member. all and all we are making concrete efforts to empower urban communities. this is the most urban friendly administration we have had in a long, long time. [applause] >> and one of the many reasons i am in it is to see a lot of friends because we can think of nobody better to partner with than the urban league, to help us work through this, to get your ideas as you gave them to us before we even put together. we've got something we really haven't had before in this country. we've got a true metro home and does the strategy, and now we have to implement it. that's why president obama and i
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have created a white house task force age 60, a white house office on urban affairs at the white house level. we can't succeed if our urban areas don't succeed. mayor daley hasn't forgotten about this issue and i'm going to learn. but the truth is, we can succeed unless the urban areas succeed. and like you, we are doing everything we can do to empower them to lead us into the future, to lead us all down the path to power. despite our efforts, we know that millions will be left unemployed and underemployed for sometime more before we can get to the more, before we have full recovery. that's just the nature of the beast of the world economy these days. and the beast we are trying to slay. one other leaders, whitney young, who i had the great pleasure of knowing, not closely but i had a chance to meet him, a young senator, he once said and i quote, the hardest work in
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the world is being out of work. the hardest work in the world is being out of work. [applause] >> whitney young and my dad knew something else about being out of work. that when you are out of work, you are not only have lost your income and ability to provide for yourself and your family, you lose your dignity. your dignity is damaged. and i believe that whitney believed, mr. young believed, the hardest work is being out of work. i think the longest walk in america is to walk a mother or father has to make up a short flight of stairs to their child's bedroom to say, honey, daddy or mommy, i lost my job. or, honey, we don't have enough money to stay in the house. they are going to take the
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house. and, honey, we are not going to -- you will not be able to go to, you know, such at such high school, great school next year if you can't play on the same ballclub. we are going to have to move. my dad made that walk. maybe a lot of your dad did. i was in third grade. i remember him walking up the stairs, we were living at my grandfather's house at the time. he told me everything is going to be all right, but dad is going to move to wilmington, delaware, and i will come home every weekend. and i think i can get a good new job down there, and when i get enough together, we're going to get a place and bring you, mommy, and your brother and sister down. well, it worked out. my dad said that with absolute conviction and he did. god love him, he did. he provided well for his family and his son. i look back on it now, and i'd only imagine how hard it must
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have been for my dad to look at and tell me that. though, my dad did it. tens of millions of moms and dad did it. and tend it of millions of moms and dads are making that walk and we've got to make sure they will be able to say what my dad said to me with absolute conviction, to be able to look at your town that day, honey, it will be okay. it's going to be okay. it's almost that simple. it's almost that simple and profound. we've got to put people back in the spot. that are able to look at their kids and say honey, it's going to be okay. and you know what? positive things are beginning to happen. i am absolutely positively certain we will come out of this recession stronger than before. we are absolutely, positively certain when we come out of this recession we will not be leaving people behind.
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i am absolutely, positively certain. [applause] >> that this recovery act is working at our plan will work. folks, remember where we were six months ago. our market was in freefall. we were talking about the possibility of a depression. a worldwide financial collapse. our banking system was on the verge of collapse. remember the discussion, mr. mayor? citibank or is a bank of america or all the big banks are they going to be -- people were talking about maybe we need a bank holiday. ladies and gentlemen, job losses were staggering. they are still terrible but they are staggering. the month before we took office,
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600,000 jobs lost. the month we took office, 700,000 jobs lost. we inherited the largest economic crisis since the 1930s, and now look what we are talking about. still dire, but no one is talking about a total collapse of the banking system. no one is talking about a total collapse of housing. we pray god had hit the bottom. housing starts are up for this month. does that mean we are out? no. does that mean there will be more foreclosures? no. but we are beginning to move in the direction we have to. unemployment rate still is unacceptably high, but not growing nearly as fast. less good is not good. but less good is better than worse. [laughter] [applause] >> and today, and today we've
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got a piece of, i say less good, less bad. we've got a piece of less bad news. it was expected the economy, the gdp would continue to plunge. well, it fell again this quarter but only 1%. i believe, and most economists will tell you, that by the last quarter of this year we will be technically out of a recession. we will be a plus something. technically out of, they mean out of the recession. that's good. it's not sufficient to know. growth in the gdp is necessary but not sufficient to deal with all the problems. i suggested today, the commitment that barack and i made to each other when we teamed up, it was not enough
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just to make the gdp growth or i will repeat what i said before. at the end, when we leave office, we will venture ourselves by not whether or not there is a statistical uptick in the gdp, we will measure ourselves by whether or not we had a leap forward in opportunity to americans. we will be measured by the progress we see in the promises we keep. we will be measured first and foremost by whether or not the standard of living in the middle class improves and whether those aspiring in the middle class can get there and stay there. that's what we are about. but today's news is a glimmer of hope, that we are putting the brakes on this recession. we are looking ourselves back up out of that people were dropped into. and that we will get through this. and that when we get on our feet, we will be a much stronger nation and when we went into this recession.
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so, ladies and children, as my mom would say, actually she got it from my grandma, keep the faith. keep the faith. and every time she would say that i would walk out the door and my grandpa would yell, no, spread it. well, ladies and children, i don't want to exaggerate the progress we have made, but it is real. its concrete. these are building blocks that are necessary to get to the place we have to get to do what we need to do. so i just want to end by thanking you. thanking you for your work. thank you for your commitment. and telling you how badly we need you to maintain that commitment and passion, because we have to build a new economy in the 21st century. not just restore the old economy. we have to build a new economy. so everybody, everybody has a shot. ladies and gentlemen, thank you
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very much and may god bless you and may god protect our troops. take you very, very much. [applause] will [applause] ♪ ♪
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>> a look at the u.s. capitol here were the u.s. senate gavels and shortly. at 2 p.m. eastern. members will begin with an hour of general speeches before turning to legislative work at 3 p.m. on the calendar today, more work on the $124.5 billion agricultural spending bill. lawmakers will vote on a substitute amendment at 5:30 p.m. eastern. tomorrow, the senate begins debate on the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor to be an associate supreme court justice. followed the senate live on c-span2.
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on the other side of the capitol the u.s. house of representatives is in recess until september 8. more lighthouse coverage event on our companion network, c-span. now to take us to the top of the hour here is some of the viewer phone calls from this mornings "washington journal." >> a question for you for the rest of the hour is when do you expect economic recovery here a piece today in "the new york times" and business day section, obama aides signed recovery but say it will be slow. president obama's top economic adviser gave upbeat assessment of the american economy on sunday predicting an imminent start to a recovery but a slow and arduous one compared with previous rebounds. the article goes on to report, by edward l. andrews, american households have lost about $14 trillion in wealth. more than the collective earnings in all sources of income last year. never before have american families felt that kind of blow to their wealth. the timing could not have been worse. it is just before the advanced population of baby boomers reach retirement age." larry summers did talk about this over the weekend.
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six months ago, when the president took office, "we were talking about whether the present -- whether this recession would become a depression. " what signs are you looking for? for republicans, 202-737-0001. for democrats, 202-737-0002. for independents, 202-628-0205. our e-mail address is journal@c- we are on twitter, that addresses continuing on to look at some of the other reporting today. about the economy and where the president's team says it may be going. this from the washington times. geithner on tax hikes conflict with obama's vow and it talks about how larry summers would not rule out a middle tax increase as a way to the obama administration to pay for a sweeping health care plan. and that was on the talk shows to get prize open the door to the kind of broad tax increases
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that mr. obama opposed in his campaign and that he and his advisers have ruled out since taking office in january. let's take a look at what secretary geithner said over the weekend. >> i think you are right to say that the broad consensus of a private forecasters as you're going to see positive growth in the second half of this year and expect that to continue. >> two and a half% level. >> not clear yet. but unique growth before you get businesses start creating jobs again. and that's what we are going to be very focused on doing. >> so should americans expect more jobs are going to start getting created this year or not? >> i think you will see first is growth turned positive. and then you are going to see the pace of job losses slow but turning, they have already slowed as significant as you said. they will slow further but most private forecasters and let's use their judgment, suggest you will see unimportant star to come down at the beginning of the second half of next year. >> what about the flipside? what are the chances we will
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either see later this year? >> that's something we are very focused on. again, we need recovery to be built on the demand, private spending. businesses taking a chance to get in on the american economy putting investors to work, started to rebuild their employment -based. that's the ultimate test for recovery, and at the very important thing for us is to make sure we are sticking with us until we are very confident we have a very strong recovery in place. >> secretary geithner on abc's this week. a piece in the washington post continues on from what geithner was talking about. it says to reconcile the apparent tension, the site simultaneously say how bad conditions were at the beginning of the year. a claim that economic seamless package is part of the reason things are looking better now and acknowledge that the job market is likely to get worse before it gets better. six month ago the economy was in a nosedive. people were talking about the possibility of another depression. the statistics also just a
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vertical decline, said lawrence summers, the top white house economic adviser on meet the press. none of that is the situation right now. do you see this as a sign the economy has turned around? and if not, would you take an economic recovery to take shape. our first caller for the segment is alan on the republican slime from west palm beach, florida. good morning,. >> caller: i actually didn't call in on this question even though i think things are starting to look around because i akeley got a job last week. so things are looking up. >> host: how long were you hunting for a job? >> caller: i actually had my own business, and i so machines that are used in the area rug industry and making maps. it's a computer-controlled machine. and i haven't sold a new one in two years, so you know, i have been selling used machine. and i can't even do that now. i actually went out and got a job at a fabrication company. but what i wanted to call in
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about was the health insurance situation. if health insurance was a nonprofit organization, say it was in a district type thing, you take a state, split it up. you have districts, you know, with the hospital, doctors, therapy givers combined and you took out the problem, which is the insurance, you know carrier, a veteran of a back operation, i went to a doctor with a herniated disc they told me that they were the doctor. i didn't know what i was talking about. they made me do situps for six months. you know, it just got worse and worse. my pain was tenfold and i ended up having to go to an orthopedic surgeon and tell the guy something you shouldn't to get my mri. i got my mri. three days later i headed back operation. the money that was spent in that six months basically torturing me is just ridiculous. i mean, if you took out the problem, which is the carrier, they take the money, you know, they do what they want with it.
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if it's a nonprofit entity combined with the doctors, the hospitals, and it can't be government run either. it has to be nonprofit. >> host: thanks, alan. barber is next from santa monica california. >> caller: yes. i really think that a lot of our problems, especially with consumer confidence is the media. i was just watching this young lady and people were calling in. they were saying different things. and instead of saying okay, that's what has been said, but here are the facts. she was saying yeah, you know, this site says such and such in this site says such and such and we didn't get any information, other than what the democrats are saying and what the republicans are saying. >> host: i think that a thing as everyone is trying to get their message out there for the reporters are here to respond and say here's what the democrats are saying, here's our what the republican sourcing. >> caller: we already know what they're saying. that's what we are getting. what we need for them to do is tell us what the facts are because when somebody says, the
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republicans say this guy guide, i don't need a republican to say, i needed to say here are what the facts are. that's what we are depending on. so it's like reading from the washington times, that's a very, very slanted point of view. then you have other things, you know, different people are saying different things. we need people, we need the media to the get the facts. i think i would go a long way to the public know what's going on because like someone says, it is to. people are paying bills, struggling to get the kids through college, just getting to the bus stop every day and just trying to make it when they can't. and they just get little soundbites. and so by not getting the facts out there, i think it really makes things a lot more difficult. >> host: got bill up on the independent line from shepherdstown, west virginia. >> caller: good morning. i hope i'm not sure, but i hope we are on our way to recover. i wish i were sure. one thing i am sure of, what got us in this ditch was those
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miserable, misbegotten republicans who have ruined the economy. i hope this is the end of the republican party. thank you. >> host: rick on the republicans lined calling from land o lakes florida. good morning, rick. >> caller: good morning. i kind of look at it as recovery is going to take a lot longer than what people think. first of august cash for clunkers bill that's all smoke and mirrors. what's going to happen is it's going to show an increase in all these automobile sales for this quarter, and then right after that it's going to show a downturn in sales when that money is not available anymore. so as long as they keep putting programs out like that and everybody is getting their freebies, it's like putting a band-aid on an amputated arm. as far as the republicans go, i don't feel that they are responsible for all the. i think it goes back even to the clinton era. they open up the free trade and allowed these jobs to go overseas, in other countries. and we need to get back to being
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an industrial country where we are manufacturing things so that we could be self-sufficient. that's all i've got to say. >> host: in "the wall street journal" article white house flags jobs deficit concerns. it talks about another one of the president's team. christina romer head of the council of economic advisers said she expected gross domestic product growth by years end, but it will be a while after that before we actually -- before we see employment actually going up. with unappointed benefits set to expire for about 1.5 million people by years end, according to the national employment law project, she told cnn's state of the union that an extension of these benefits was absolutely on the table. we have bob calling stack we are leading this segment now as the u.s. senate is about to gavel in. members will begin today with general speeches before turning to legislative work on the $124.5 billion agriculture spending bill.
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lawmakers will vote on a substitute amendment at 5:30 p.m. eastern. tomorrow, the senate begins debate on the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor to begin an associate supreme court justice. now, coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2 senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer.
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the chaplain: let us pray. god our help of the ages past, our hope for years to come. in your secret places we find our faith and strength. help us to know ourselves for who we are, people who too often seek our own way instead of striving to fulfill your purposes. cleanse the inner foundations of our hearts from any hint of pretense and use our senators for your glory. in this challenging hour of human destiny, deepen in our senators a sense of surpassing
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opportunity to do their part in building a better nation and world. lord, fit them to protect this land from outward evil and from inner corruption. may the words of their mouths and the meditations of their hearts be acceptable in your sight. oh god, our rock and our redeemer. amen the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible,
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with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., august 3, 2009. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable mark r. warner, a senator from the commonwealth of virginia, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: robert c. byrd, presidet pro tempore. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will be in a period of morning business for up to one hour. senator begich will give his maiden speech, mr. president. we all look forward to this. he will have the first 30 minutes of the morning business time. i would just note before he starts the speech how we're all so pleased with the work that he's done. he's done an outstanding for the people of the state of alaska and our country, and i look
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forward to his remarks. the republicans will control the final 30 minutes. following morning business, the senate will resume consideration of the agriculture appropriations act. at 5:30 the senate will proceed to a cloture vote on the substitute amendment to the bill. additional votes in relation to the amendments are possible following the cloture vote. the deadline for filing first-degree amendments is 3:30 today. in speaking to senator brownback, on our side, senator kohl, who is the comanager of the bill, would love to finish it today. senator brownback said on thursday he thought we could finish the bill this evening. i hope that in fact is the case. the longer we're on this bill, the less time there will be for sotomayor speeches. so we look forward to when we complete this agriculture appropriations bill, we can go to the supreme court and know what people have to say about the new supreme court justice.
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mr. president, the american people wake up every morning worrying about real problems. they go to bed every night with real concerns. they worry about the agonizing sacrifices they have to make so they can afford to stay healthy. and their fear is really sincere. our response and responsibility to the american people should be equally grounded in reality. that reality is that our health care system is in serious distress. i believe serious problems deserve serious efforts by serious legislators to develop serious solutions. unfortunately, much of what has been seen from the other side is simply one radical distraction after the next. for months republicans have perpetuated a pollster and consultant-created myth. our plan and our goal is to have the government run your health care. we do not -- let me repeat. we do tphofplt in fact, one of our core principles, is that if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.
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on the other side, they simply won't let the facts get in the way of a good story. a republican congressman claimed our plan to improve health care would -- and i quote -- "put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government." end of quote. the republican senator made a similar statement to mislead his constituents. he actually accused democrats of proposing a plan that would kill americans. it's hard to imagine that, mr. president. rather than having a serious and real debate about a serious and real crisis, some united states senators and congressmen want the american people to believe their colleagues are proposing a plan to kill them. these distortions and distractions are revolting. they're not limiting to health care. an artificial controversy is getting far too much attention lately, one that ignores the undeniable and proven fact that
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president obama was born in the united states. just last week one of the republican leaders in the house of representatives continued to give this false and misleading claim credence. let's be clear, it's a phony issue and does not deserve even a minute of our attention on the floor of the united states senate. it's absurd, irresponsible, baseless and the false claims of long ago been refuted. the american people have every right to expect us to solve real problems before creating fake problems. they should know that rather than helping them get ahead, some of our khraougz would rather spew ludicrous conspiracy theories. the other side hasn't stopped at fake arguments and fake issues. we've also seen them resort to fake letters. some members of congress recently received forged letters purporting to be from the naacp. others received similar letters signed by a fake name with a fake job title purporting to be from a local hispanic group.
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the bogus letters have been tracked back to employees of a republican lobbying firm. mr. president, this behavior is sick, it's shame tp-s, it's dishonest and really undemocratic. when we passed our economic recovery plan this winter, some opposed it. they didn't believe we needed an aggressive plan in response to a grave crisis, but now it's putting people back to work, ensuring middle-families can get ahead in srefgs in our future. but -- investing in our future. as we start to see a return on our investment, many of those who try to block this bill have since sought credit for the good it's doing. others who opposed the plan outright, those who wished we weren't investing in their state and district now complain they'd like to see us invest more quickly. well, you can't have it both ways. it is yet another embarrassing example of the misinformation and misrepresentation upon which some on the other side tend to
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rely. we can't blame people for wondering why, with an issue as important as health care now before us, bipartisan consensus sometimes seems so elusive. so i say to them, this extreme brand of strategy and the extreme tactics that come with it are what we have to contend with. first, rush limbaugh happily admitted he wants our president to fail. then a republican senator openly admitted he wants to block the health insurance reform for millions as a way to -- quote -- "break the president." another republican senator admitted that at least half of the other side's opposition to reform is purely political. and an influential commentator advised the republicans to avoid consensus at all costs and instead go for the kill. these partisan tactics have consequences. these consequences will be evident when every kitchen table, every family budget and
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every american's peace of mind. and they're watching. a poll released last week found that a majority of americans credit president obama for putting partisanship aside, trying to work with congressional republicans to get this done for the good of the country. republicans, they found, weren't returning the favor. others may be focused on delaying health insurance reform, but we will make sure we won't let that hafplt we already have seen what happens when we do nothing. the costs of sitting this one out are far too high and not acting is not an option. the american people appreciate those republicans who have come to the negotiating table in good faith. i'm sorry to say there simply aren't enough of them. at this stage, mr. president, out of 100 senators, we have 3 convince who are willing to work with us -- 3 republicans who are willing to work with us on health care. very happy for that, but i wish we had more.
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rather than having a serious and real debate about a serious and real crisis, some would prefer to employ tactics to scare the american people. what really scares the american people is under the status quo they live one illness, one accident or one pink slip away from losing everything. this is no time to let partisanship get the best of us. this is no time to obsess over fake controversies or oppose ideas simply because they were proposed by people who sit on the other side of this chamber. this is no time to instill unfounded fears and cite the hope that our nation's leaders failed. this is the time to get serious about making it easy for american citizens to afford to live a healthy life. would the chair announce morning business now? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time be reserved. the senate will proceed to a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes
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each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the distinguished senator from alaska, mr. begich, controlling the first 30 minutes and the republicans controlling the final 30 minutes. mr. begich: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. begich: i rise today for the first time on this floor to mark the 50th anniversary of alaska's statehood and draw the attention of my colleagues to an urgent issue that affects not only my state, but all our states -- the issue of global climate change. this year thanks to action taken in this very chamber, alaska is celebrating its golden anniversary of statehood,
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acquiring the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship was the culmination of a dream for citizens of the 49th state. statehood granted us an ability to exercise control over our vast natural resources and gave us a full voice in our national government. and a half century since, alaska has grown from the nation's largest supplier of salmon to become the nation's storehouse of both seafood and energy. because of its strategic location near the top of the globe, alaska plays a critical role in the nation's defense. during the cold war, the superpowers stared down at each other across the frozen polar ice cap, thanks to a thaw in the geopolitical climate, the ice curtain melted some 20 years ago. today it's a change in the climate itself that presents serious new challenges and great opportunities. to my state and our nation.
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alaska is now at ground zero for the effects of global climate change. i take this opportunity today to detail how that is affecting the lives of alaskans. i'll describe a package of legislation i'm preparing to introduce for my state and the nation for the next 50 years. during that time the article played a larger role in the nation's commerce, foreign poeup and -- policy and energy independence. to me, there is no more dramatic illustration of global warming in alaska than these two pictures taken 50 miles south of anchorage. the top photo taken by my dad in 1970. i'll let you figure out who i am in that photo. it shows me and two of my brothers and sister. the glacier is in clear view. the bottom photo was taken 35 years later, in 2005. it's of my son, jacob, standing in the exact same spot in the same time frame in that year. the glacier is nowhere to be
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seen because it has dramatically receded due to global warming. today in the arctic, the sea is melting so fast, most of it can be gone in 30 years. you can clearly see it in the polar projections of the arctic. the implications of the lost are enormous. devastating for species such as the polar bare, walrus and seals. life-altering for those who have depended on marine mammals for thousands of years. literally earth shattering for the entire alaskan earth arctic communities which is eroding away from permafrost. this accelerates climate changing we're witnessing around the globe that neither science nor a political system can stop. consider these example -- storms raging over waters that once
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were frozen solid now ice free much of the year are eroding alaskan -- alaska. thawing permafrost is causing foundations and homes to buckle. the alaska institute social and economic research estimated the impacts of climate change will increase the cost of maintaining or replacing the public infrastructure in my state by $6 billion. the potential release of massive amounts of methane now sealed in the permafrost threatened to accelerate the pace of climate change. that is known to scientists as arctic feedback. warming water temperatures are causing warm water species north. tuna, whose usual habitat favors the tropics have been caught.
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invasive species including the green crab are moving steadily northward. ocean acidification choral and plank tin, the first link of the food chain. developing nations agreed to the principles of limiting average increase in the earth's temperature to no more than two degrees sellus, above -- celius. in the american arctic we exceeded that. the diminishing ice creates opportunities in the arctic. it poses new challenges. the beaufort sea -- arctic oil has been developed safely onshore in alaska and alaskaians have the technology to produce to safely offshore. those who rely on the marine
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mammals for their way of life are legitimately concerned about the special challenges of how to prevent and respond to oil spill and broken sea ice. the diminishing ice pack could open new grounds to commercial fishing which can create new jobs. it brings challenges to manage fish stock in the region as we learn more about the impacts of fishing in the previously inaccessible waters. opening the northwest passage in the northern sea route and eventually the polar sea will bring an increase in shipping an tourism to the arctic. it means new economic development and additional jobs to the northern part of our state. our neighbors have taken notice of the warming arctic too. this picture of the russian planting the country's flag on the ocean floor was shocking to americans and other arctic nations. the swedish foreign minister
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demonstrates that europe understands these changes when he recently said the melting polar sea ice is creating a revolutionary transportation possibilities between the atlantic and the pacific. although alaskans are well aware of the impacts of climate change in our state, national decision makers are starting to come to grips with its challenges and opportunities. a proposed american arctic policy was adopted in the final days of the bush administration. though not perfect, it highlights many areas that need further focus. here in congress climate change has realize tony a high priority -- risen to a high priority in the polls and in the obama administration. mr. president, i commend these many initiatives and pledge my cooperation with other members of this body and the national administration. to advance this effort today i'm introducing a package of seven bills to address these
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challenges all of which have been caused by or made worse by the climate change. i call this package the enuvpick pact, which means the place where we live. i can think of no more appropriate term coming from the very people that are being affected every day by climate changes and america's arctic, the place they have called their home for thousands of years. mr. president, my package starts improving our fundamentallal understanding of the region. we need to improve science to better understand the biology and fish and marine mammals and understanding the oil and gas potential. we need a coordinator research plan, it should include better science preventing oil spills an prevention an response.
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this plan must include local and traditional knowledge. afterall, some of the first and most accurate predictions of arctic climate change came from native elders. my bill calls on the secretary of commerce to undertake a comprehensive strategy to coordinate arctic research to make recommendations to congress on a long-term arctic ocean research plan. we also need to promote a pan arctic research, especially with our russian and canadian neighbors to address scientific issues that span international borders. my second bill will provide the united states equal standing with other arctic nations when it comes to our participation in the international arctic council and other forms. other leading arctic nations, russia, canada, norway are represented by ambassador-level diplomats on the council. i appreciate the dedication of
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those who represented us before in the arctic council in other forms. i also thank secretary clinton and other high-level diplomats for their interest in the arctic. but the united states needs a permanent representative on an equal footing with representatives of other nations in these important forums. our ambassadors should advocate american interests in science, sustainable development, transportation, and our defense posture. the third piece of legislation deals with preparedness for the coming expanded use of the arctic. we must increase our investment in the basic infrastructure to maintain a permanent presence for scientific, economic development, and national security missions. critical to that is a need to replace our fleet of ice breakers. the polar sea and the currently idle polish star have served beyond their 30-year life span. the heli is newer, but produced
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for scientific use. we need an ice breaking fleet to patrol the waters, monitor increased traffic and respond to search and rescue and oil spills. in addition to their lifesaving mission, the coast guard is a vital partner with alaska's commercial fishing industry. the $4 billion industry is one of our nation's truly american industries providing 58,000 jobs. our coast guard needs facilities to serve as a base for aerial surveillance, spill prevention, emergency response capabilities in the arctic. currently our closest coast guard air base is located in codiak, a 900-mile commute just to reach the arctic coast. that's like patrolling the gulf of mexico from air bases in new york. i applaud the stamina of our coast guard crews who kept the
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c-130 anyway the arctic skies by he performing maintenance work in the sub freezing conditions. the least we can do is provide them with a heated hangar. my legislation would ray dress this facility and other critical infrastructure facilities they need to do their job. fourth, we must achieve a balance in the environmental responsive resources development in the arctic. a diminished ice cap may clear the which for more affordable development of enormous energy resources an reserves that the u.s. geological surfaces say lay beneath the arctic weamples this region contains an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil and 220 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. the resources can create thousands of american jobs and help ensure our national energy security. we must get the science right and provide the infrastructure
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necessary to protect human and animal life in the environment. to help achieve that we must assess the arctic development and develop the necessary infrastructure. it requires the secretary of commerce to direct research to prevent and improve oil spill recovery in the arctic. my fifth bill deals with benefits of energy development in the arctic. most alaskaians support oil and gas exploration in the outer continental shelf and can do the development in the right way as shown here. another example is b.p. liberty located off the alaskaian coast. to minimize impacts from the direct drilling, it can tap oil reserves eight miles away in the area. -- in the water. my bill extends to alaskans the same share of federal revenues that those in the gulf states receive. it would direct a portion of
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those revenues to the most affected, the residents of alaska's north slope where communities have depended on marine mammal from the same waters for thousands of years. i believe the arctic resources belong to the people of the arctic and should be shared among them. my sixth bill deals with critical emission from the new presidential directive on the arctic. addressing the health problems of the arctic people. alassians an others who live in the northern latitudes experience numerous health problems including higher rates of alcohol abuse, diabetes, high blood pressure and tragically death from injury and swiesmed in many cases it's unclear what causes these problems. more research is necessary in the prevention and treatment. this bill proposes a study of mental and behavior health issues in the arctic. it would create antarctic death at the national institute on health that was called for in
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federal legislation in 1984 but never was established. finally, it would institute a health assessment program at the centers for disease control focused on the arctic. this vital research will not only benefit residents of my states, but citizens across the country. the seventh bill in this package addresses the huge loss of coastal territory as a result of dra make the climate change -- dramatic climate change. as a june 2009 government accountability study on the issue says -- quote -- "most of alaska's more than 200 native villages are affected to some degree by flooding and erosion. in some cases entire alaska villages are at risk of serious erosion or being washed into the sea. to make matters worse some of the most severe flooding in recent history occurred this spring. millions of dollars in damages done to alaskaian communities
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prompting state and federal disaster declarations. i propose a creation of the arctic adaptation fund. it would help the state of alaska, alaska native organizations, affected arctic communities and the private sector deal with the impacts of change. this includes flooding, erosion, permafrost melting, damage to public transportation systems and buildings. that fund would assist in dealing with habitat restoration, clean energy development and other economic development activities. mr. president, i'm considering an additional piece of legislation in this package. it focuses on providing the people of alaska's arctic with a greater voice in development decisions affecting their lives. this would teab the -- establish the arctic regional council. it would be modeled after those councils in the prince william sound.
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at the request of the north slope borough mayor and constituents there, i have agreed to hold off and the bill for now so we can continue the conversation with the people of the region and along with industry and regulatory stakeholders. in addition to the legislation i'm introducing today, senate ratification of two treaties will dramatically improve our nation's ability to address arctic climate change. the first is the convention of the law of the sea negotiated in 1982. this treaty is designed to set a long -- settle longstanding disputes over national rights and resources. the senate's ratification of this treaty would put the united states at the table at a time of great change in the arctic. i note support of the law of the sea treaty comes from a broad spectrum of organizations. from environmental groups and oil companies to the u.s. military. i strongly support the ratification of the law of the sea treaty and would be proud to cosponsor this measure.
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the second key international agreement, the senate should rad fi to address arctic health issues is the treaty on persistent organic pollutants, these pollutants and even fire retard ants are carried by the wind and sea, it is trapped by the ice and stored in the fatty tissue of fish. their the main component of the local subsistence diet. it was adopted in 20016789 like the law of the sea, it has neve been ratified. it's time that changed and i'm honored to be a cosponse we are senator harkin's bill, senate bill 519, to implement provisions of this treaty. i look forward to working with the chairman and rank member of the foreign relations committe committee -- and ranking member of the foreign relations committee and the obama administration to bring these treaties forward to the senate for consideration as soon as possible. mr. president, because of alaska, america is antarctic
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nation. my state has over 700 miles of shoreline just along the arctic ocean and over 100 million acres above the arctic circle. if you define the arctic by temperature, it encamp assist an even longer barrier that includes the aleutian islands and bering sea. we have learned much over the past century but there is much we still do not understand. this century and the next 50 years of alaska statehood brings great challenges and great opportunities. to succeed, we must address the broad policy implications of ice diminishing arctic on the diplomatic, scientific, and national security fronts. we must make the needed investments to ensure the united states maintains its leadership at the top of our globe. and we must listen to and address the needs of residents of the arctic. with this package of
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legislation, we will take a major step toward achieving these important goals. as they say in america's arctic, thank you. mr. president, before yielding the floor, i want to mark a passing of a great alaskan. lou young, the wife of alaska's longtime congressman don young. lou passed away suddenly over the weekend. lou was an alaskan of true distinction. i'm proud to have shared a friendship with her for several decades. our state is better because of her service and many contributions. the thoughts and prayers of alaskans and me are with representative young and his family. i ask unanimous consent that my full statement be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. begich: i yield the remainder of my time. ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. i rise this afternoon to congratulate my colleague from
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alaska, senator begich, and hi his -- recognize his maiden speech here on the senate floor. the -- the tradition and the significance of giving a maiden speech is one that perhaps in recent years that tradition has not been followed as -- as intently as it has in days gone past. but i think the significance that senator begich has -- has attributed with his remarks today, the collection of bills that he has introduced on the senate floor speaking about america's role as antarctic nation and the key that alaska holds as a leader in that responsibility. i appreciate what he is doing to shine the spotlight on these issues, whether it's how we deal with the impacts of climate change, whether it's how we deal
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with the health consequences, how we deal with -- with renewed and increased commerce in -- in antarctic that is potentially ice-free. i applaud him for his efforts and -- in again shining the light on an issue that it seems every day the rest of the country, the rest of the world is looking to the arctic, looking to the arctic for our science, looking to the arctic for our knowledge from our elders and from the researchers and really looking to the arctic as -- as a true leader in global and environmental politics. so i applaud him and i'm privileged to be able to support him in so many of these -- these efforts, working on issues that are important to, of course, our
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state but to the nation as a whole. my colleague has mentioned the death and the passing of a very, very dear friend and i just wanted to take just a moment here this afternoon to also acknowledge the passing of lou young. this is a sad, sad day for us in alaska as we come to grips with the very sudden passing of congressman young's team. they had been a team, have been a team for some 46 years and she died this weekend at their home here in great falls, virginia. she was only 67 years old. lou young was an afskan indian from the village of fort yukon. fort yukon, you may have seen on senator begich's map, it's an interior part of the state, sits north of the north bank of the river. it's about 400 miles north of
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fairbanks. congressman young met lou in fort yofortyukon. when was this was when he was a tugboat captain carrying supplies up and down the river. and lou was a bookkeeper. don taught in the wintertime at the b.i.a. schools and, again, lou was the bookkeeper there in the village. they met, they married and 46 years of -- of really honest wedded bliss. and i have to tell you, mr. president, it's not often that you can look at a couple after 46 years of marriage and still see the love and the gleam and the warmth between two individuals one for another. every day you saw that. and if lou wasn't with don, don was talking about lou. he used to joke when he was -- when he was in his campaigns, he would say, you know, you get two
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for the price of one. and he wasn't kidding. don -- don was in his office every day but lou was also in the office every day over at the rayburn building, and she would greet alaskans as they would come in. she'd make sure they were comfortable for she thought they were taking too much of don's time, she would tell them that too. she would take people over to the -- to the -- to the restaurant for lunch. she welcomed alaskans as part of that family. we've got a very close and intimate relationship with tho those -- those who represent us here in alaska. i think as my new colleague here is recognizing, we're a long way from home so we kind of band together. we are part of a -- part of an expanded family. and lou was a constant in -- in don young's office. she ensured that alaskans that traveled to washington, d.c. would know that the congressman
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for all alaska was going to take care of you. and she also -- she was also reminding don every day, don't forget where you come from. anyone who's ever been to don's office knows that it looks and feels very much like alaska. and lou made sure that that was never going to change. but today, the people of alaska aren't thinking about lou's contributions to don's political career. they're reflecting upon the truly remarkable love between the two of them. and in a statement this morning, congressman young really summed it up. he said, "lou was my everything and i'm hear heartbroken. and that loss breaks the golden hearts of all alaskan as we remember our own experiences with congressman young's partner, his best friend and his heart. congressman young has lost the love of his life and alaskans have lost a great friend. regardless of political persuasion, all of alaska grieves with congressman young, his daughters, joanie and dawn
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and their husbands and their 14 great-grands and an extended family of lifelong friends throughout the greatland. i thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, how much time is remaining for republicans? the presiding officer: 23 1/2 man in its. mr. alexander: how much? the presiding officer: 23 1/2 minutes. mr. alexander: would you please let me know when ten remains? the presiding officer: yes. mr. alexander: and i ask unanimous consent that senator kyl and i object permitted to engage -- i be permitted to engage in a colloquy during our time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. of course, all of us extend our sympathies to congressman young and his family. the remarks of the senator from alaska spoke for all of us. mr. president, a few minutes ago i was waiting to give a television interview to msnbc and the white house press
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secretary, robert gibbs, was on. he said a most astonishing thing. he was there obviously for the purpose at an impromptu press conference to correct what i thought was a truthful yetion thatruthfulimpression that was t yesterday by two members of the obama administration. both mr. summers and mr. geithner yesterday didn't rule out the possibility of a middle-income tax increase. that was wild reported all over the -- that was widely reported all over the country today. and apparently they were taken to the woodshed this morning and mr. gibbs was sent out to say oh, no, we're not going to raise taxes on middle income. but -- but, mr. president, that's misleading, at best, to the american people. and most people know that. in an article in "the new york times" august 1 said, "obama's pledge to tax the rich only can't pay for everything, analysts say."
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and among those quoted, leonard berman, veteran of the clinton administration treasury and director of the nonpartisan tax policy center, "this idea," he says, "that everything new government provides ought to be paid for by the top 5%, that's basically an unstable way of governing." isabelle sawhill, who i'm sure the senator from arizona remembers her distinguished service -- quote -- "there's no way we can pay for health care and the rest of the obama agenda plus get our long-term deficits under control simply by raising taxes on the wealthy, said isabelle v. sawhill, a former clinton administration budget official." "the middle class is going to have to contribute as well." i wonder if the senator from arizona, who's a veteran member of the finance committee, was -- is surprised to see, first, that the two top finance people for the obama administration would say we might -- we're not going to rule out a middle-class tax
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increase. and then all of a sudden today, nope, nope, going to rule that out again. what's going on? mr. kyl: mr. president, i would say to my colleague, i had the same impression yesterday when i saw mr. geithner and mr. summers on television. they were, frankly, just acknowledging the reality of the situation, and didn't really think that much of it because the truth of the matter is, the people that the -- my colleague has just quoted are absolutely right. you cannot do all of the things the president wants to do without raising taxes and inevitably that will be on the middle class. just to put in the record here what -- what both treasury secretary and mr. summers said, this is as reported by george stephanopoulos, the "this week" host for abc. he said, "to get the economy back on track, whether president obama have to break his pledge not to raise taxes on 95% of americans?" in a "this week" exclusive,
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treasury secretary tim geithner told me -- quote -- "ear going to have to do what's next." dismie then stephanopoulos continues, "when i gave him several opportunities to rule out a middle-class tax hike, he wouldn't do it." "we have to bring these deficits down very dramatically," geithner told me, "and that's going to require some very hard choices." well, of course it is. i mean, geithner is right. it's pretty hard to deny. and then the national economic council director, lawrence summers, was asked by bob schieffer on cbs if taxes could be raised for middle-income americans and summers said -- and i'm quoting again -- "there is a lot that could happen over time. it's never a good idea to absolutely rule out things no matter what." and then he said -- and i quote -- "what the president has been completely clear on is that he's not going to pursue any of these priorities, not health care, not energy, nothing, in ways that are primarily burdening middle-class familie families." that'families. that's something that's not
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going to happen." there seems to be a subtle switch here, first of all, to never say never; and, secondly, to say, well, the tax burden isn't going to primarily fall on middle-class americans. and i would just say to my colleague that when you look at some of the provisions that are in the house of representatives bill on health care, in the senate "help" committee on health care and some of the things that are being considered by the finance committee, in all three situations, you do have taxes on working american families, middle-class families. so i think that what the secretary and -- and mr. summers said sunday is actually more true than the press secretary tried to make it out to be. it's simply the recognition of a reality, that you can't pay for all of this and not impose taxes on middle americans. mr. alex around: well, i agree with -- mr. alexander alexander: well, e with the senator and his point is a valid one. it's not a matter are they going to propose middle-income tax
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increases. in the health care plans, we already -- we already see that. for example, in the proposed payroll tax or jobs tax on employers to pay for the proposed health care plan coming out of the house of representatives, there's a very large tax. could be up to 8% of payroll. according to the "wall street journal" editorial on july 30th, who bears the burden? economic research is close to unanimous that a payroll tax is a tax on labor and shouldered mostly if not entirely by workers. there's a middle-income tax increase already proposed. and there's another one that bothers me especially as a former governor. our current governor in tennessee called it "the mother of all unfunded mandates." if we add as is proposed by both bills, another 20 million people to medicaid for low-income people, the states help pay for
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that, tennessee -- that's 400,000 more people. and the estimates we have gotten from tennessee's department of medicaid, tony-care that is enough money to equal to 5% income tax if we pay doctors a sufficient amount to see these people dumped into died into me, that's another 10%. mr. kyl: is my colleague aware there are other proposals in the various democratic bills. one is that all individuals would be required to buy medical insurance. that's not a new tax but there would be a penalty if they refused to do so that goes directly to their income tax. the latest proposal is 1.5% of your income tax a penalty imposed upon you if you didn't buy insurance.
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now, what happens to, say, a young man or woman woul man whot graduated from college and they are going to be required to go into a risk pool along with everybody else. or, say, they have been paying a modest amount for their insurance through their college, perhaps. what's likely to happen when they are thrown into the pool of other americans, all of whom are required to purchase insurance, will their premiums go down? what is the estimate of what will happen to their premiums, these young people? mr. alexander: the senator made a good point. if you are young in america and forced into the health plan that's passing the house, your costs are going to go up. and that's a mandate or a tax that absolutely will go up so the senator is exactly right.
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so for every young person in america who's in this plan, his health care costs are by definition going to go up to help pay for older americans who, i might add, whose benefits are going to go down because half of the health care plan is going to be paid for by medicare cuts, not to make medicare solvent, grandmother's medicare, benefits are going to be cut to pay for the new program. so whether it's a benefit cut or a tax increase, there are a lot of middle-income americans who already, you know, are looking at a very big change in their economic circumstances. mr. kyl: mr. president, i know we have just a couple of minutes left. there are several other examples, one being considered by the finance committee, i know, to amend the provision of the tax code by which if your, if you itemize deductions and you have medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted goes
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income you get to deduct that from the income tax. there are two proposals spending in the finance committee. in both cases there would be a new tax imposed and the problem here is that according to the joint committee on taxation this new -- replacing the existing deduction with the new provision increases taxes by $48 billion over 10 years. and who does it hit? 52% of the taxpayers who claim the deduction earn under $50,000 a year. these are not the wealthy americans the president was speaking of. 40% of the taxpayers who claim the deduction are over the age of 65. i guarantee you in arizona we're going to look askance at that provision because a lot of our folks are over 65 and they rely on the income tax code to ensure if they have a catastrophic expense they have the ability to deduct a portion of that. mr. alexander: the senator knows we've heard about
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millionaire taxes before. we have actually got one on the books. passed in 1969, 40 years ago. 155 high-income americans were avoiding paying federal income tax, that was the cry, so let's tax them. and we did. today that is called the alternative minimum tax and each year we have to change it because this year it was going to affect 29 million americans. and people who are making $46,000 or $47,000 as individuals or $70,000 filing jointly were sudden law affected by the millionaires' tax. so beware of the millionaires' tax because it soon catches us all. mr. president, i would like to ask unanimous consent to include following our colloquy the august 1 article from the "new york times" and the july 30th editorial from "the wall street journal" to which i referred. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: i thank the
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senator from arizona for his tie. i see senator mccain is here. i yield the rest of our time to senator mccain. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, it's with great respect for judge sotomayor's qualifications i come to the floor to discuss her nomination to the united states supreme court. there's no doubt that judge sotomayor has the professional background and qualifications that one hopes for in a supreme court nominee. as we all know she is a former prosecutor, served as an attorney in private practice and spent 12 years as an appellate court judge. she is an immensely qualified candidate. and obviously judge sotomayor's life story is inspiring and compelling. as a child of puerto rican pawp whose did not speak -- parents who did in the speak english,
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judge sotomayor took it upon herself to learn english and became an outstanding student. she graduated cum laude from princeton university and later from yale law school. judge sotomayor herself stated that she is "an ordinary person blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences." however, an excellent resume and an inspiring life story are not enough to qualify one for a lifetime of service on the supreme court. those who suggest otherwise need to be reminded of miguel estrada who had an incredible life story emigrating to the united states from honduras as a teenager understanding very little english yet he managed to graduate from columbia university and harvard law
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school, magna cum laude before serving as a prosecutor and a lawyer at the department of justice. later he found success as a lawyer in private practice. however, miguel estrada, in spite of the fact millions would take great pride in the confirmation, was filibustered by the democrats seven times. most recently in 2003 because many democrats disagreed with his judicial philosophy. it was the first filibuster ever to be successfully used against a court of appeals nominee. i supported mr. mr. estrada's nomination because of the judicial philosophy was one of
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restraint explicit in writings and responses to the senate judiciary committee that he would not seek to legislate from the bench. in 1987, i had my first opportunity to provide advice and consent on a supreme court nominee. at that time i stated that the qualifications i believed were essential for evaluating a nominee for the bench included integrity, character, legal competence, and ability, experience, and philosophy in scwciajudicial temperament. when i spoke of philosophy and temperament, it is specifically how one seeks to interpret the law while serving on the bench. i believe a judge should seek to uphold all acts of congress and state legislatures, unless they clearly violate a specific section of the constitution and refrain from interpreting the
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law in a manner that creates law. i believe judge sotomayor has many of these qualifications i outlined in 1987, i do not believe she shares my belief in judicial restraint. when the senate was considering judge sotomayor's nomination to the second circuit in 1998 i reviewed her decisions and her academic writings. her writings demonstrated she does not subscribe to the philosophy that federal judges should respect the limited nature of the judicial power under our constitution. judges who stray beyond their constitutional role believe judges somehow have a greater insight into the meaning of the broad principles of constitution than representatives who are elected by the people. these activist judges assume that the judiciary is a super
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legislature of moral philosophers. i know of no more profoundly antidemocratic attitude than that expressed by those who want judges to discover and enforce the ever-changing boundaries of a so-called "living constitution." that demonstrates a lack of respect for the popular will at fundamental odds with our republican system of government. and regardless of one's success in action democratic and government service an individual who does not appreciate the commonsense limitations on judicial power in ourd syste ouc system of government lacks a key qualification for lifetime appointment to the bench. she attempted to walk back from the long public record of scwcial activism during her confirmation hearings, judge sotomayor cannot change her
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record. in a 1996 article in a law review she stated, -- quote -- "a given judge or judges may develop a in develop approach to a specific set of facts or legal framework that pushes the law in a new direction. this is exactly this view that i disagree with. as a district court judge her decisions too often strayed beyond legal norms. several times this resulted in her decisions being overturned by the second circuit. she was reversed due to relowance on foreign law rather -- reliance on foreign law rather than u.s. law because she exceeded her jurisdiction in deciding a case involving a state law claim. she was reversed for trying to impose a settlement in a dispute between businesses. and she was reversed for
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unnecessarily limiting the intellectual property rights of freelance authors. these are but a few examples that led me to vote against her nomination to the second circuit in 1992 because of her troubling record of being an activist judge who strayed beyond the rule of law. for this reason i closely followed her confirmation hearing last month. during the hearings she clearly stated that -- quote -- "as a judge i don't make law." i applaud this statement but it does not reflect her record as an appellate court judge. as an appellate court judge, judge sotomayor has been overturned by the supreme court six times. in several of the reversals of judge sotomayor's second circuit opinions, the supreme court strongly criticized her decision and reasoning.
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in a 7th case the supreme court vacated the ruling noting that in her written opinion for the majority of second circuit, judge sotomayor had ignored two prior supreme court decisions. i do not believe reversal by the supreme court is a disqualifying factor for being considered for the federal bench i do believe such cases must be studied in reviewing a nominee's record. most recently in 2008 the supreme court noted in an opinion overturning judge sonia sotomayor that her decision "flies in the face of the statutory language" and chided the second court for extending a remedy that the court had "consistently and repeatedly recognized for three decades foreclosure of such an extension here." unfortunately, it appears from
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this case that judge sotomayor does not seek fidelity to the law as she pledged at her confirmation hearing. we must enact laws. the courts must apply the law faithfully. the the job after judge is not to make law or ignore the law. further, lopez torres vs new york board of education, the supreme court overturned judge sotomayor's decision that a state law allowing for the political parties to nominate state judges through a judicial district convention was unconstitutional because it did not give people, in her view -- quote -- "a fair shot." in overturning her decision, the supreme court took aim at her views in providing a fair shot to all interested persons stating, and i quote, "it is
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hardly a manageable constitutional question for judges, especially for judges in our legal system, where traditional electoral practice gives no hint of even the existence, much less the content, of a constitutional requirement for a 'fair shot' at party nomination." in her most recent and well-known reversal by the supreme court, the court unanimously rejected judge sotomayor's reasoning and held that white firefighter whose had passed a race-neutral exam were eligible for promotion. ricci v. dee stefano raised the bar considerable on consideration on one group simile to undo the results of otherwise fair and objective employment providers.
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-- employment procedures. again this case proves that judge sotomayor does not faithfully apply the laws we legislators enact. again and again, judge sotomayor seeks to amend the law to fit the circumstances of the case, thereby substituting herself in the role of a legislator. our constitution is very clear in its delineation and disbursement of power. it solely tasks the congress with creating law. it also clearly defines the appropriate role of the courts to -- quote -- "extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this constitution the laws of the united states and treaties, to protect the equal but separate roles of all three branches of government." i cannot support activist judges that seek to legislate from the bench. i have not supported such nominees in the past, and i cannot support such a nominee to
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the highest court in the land. when the people of arizona sent me to washington, i took an oath. i swore to uphold the constitution. for millions of americans, it is clear what the constitution means. the constitution protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms to protect himself, his home, and his family. the constitution protects our rights to protest our government, speak freely, and practice our religious beliefs. the american people will be watching this week when the senate votes on judge sotomayor's nomination. she is a judge who has foresworn judicial activism in her confirmation hearings but who has a long record of it prior to 2009. and should she engage in activist decisions that overturn the considered constitutional judgments of millions of americans, if she uses her lifetime appointment on the
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bench as a perch to remake law into her own image of justice, i expect that americans will hold us senators accountable. judicial activism demonstrates a lack of respect for the popular will that is at fundamental odds with our republican system of government and, as i stated earlier, regardless of one's success if academics and in government service, an individual who does not appreciate the commonsense limitations on judicial power in our democratic system of government ultimately lacks a key qualification for a lifetime appointment to the bench. for this reason, and no other, i'm unable to support judge sotomayor's nomination. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: before addressing the matter i came to the senate floor to today, i
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jus--i came to the floor to adds today, i just wanted to congratulate the senator for his thoughtful process by which he has made a decision on the extraordinarily important issue that we'll have before the senate later in week, and that is the confirmation of judge sotomayor for the supreme court. now, mr. president, on another matter, over the past two months i've come to the floor time and time again to talk about one of the most important issues we face as a nation, and that's the need for commonsense health care reforms which address the serious problems that all americans see in the system as it is. i've done this in the context of a larger debate about a proposed reform that, in my view, could actually make our current problems considerably worse. and i've had solid support for that view from a number of well-respected sources. first and foremost is the independent congressional budget office, which has refuted several estimates by the administration about the effect its health care proposals would
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have on the economy in general and health care costs in particular. the director of the c.b.o. has said that the democratic proposals we've seen would not reverse the upward trend of health care costs and would significantly increase the government's share of those costs. the c.b.o. says that these proposals would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. it says that one section of one of the proposals would cause 10 million people to lose their current health plans. and it says the so-called independent medicare advisory council designed to cut costs probably wouldn't. these findings have helped clarify the debate over health care, and they've also added to a growing perception that though the administration is trying very, very hard, economic estimates aren't the administration's strong suit.
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first, there was the stimulus. in trying to account for rising unemployment after a stimulus bill that was meant to arrest it, the administration said it misread the economy. it also said the stimulus would create or save between 3 million and 4 million jobs. though now it says it can't measure how many jobs are created or saved. meanwhile, we've lost 2 million of them since the stimulus was passed. last week we saw the administration's tendency to miss the mark on economic estimates, again with a so-called cash-for-clunkers program. we were told this program would last for several months. as it turned out it ran out of money in a week, prompting the house to rush a $2 billion extension before anybody even had time to figure out what happened with the first $1 billion. there's a pattern here, a pattern that amounts to an argument, and a very strong argument at that. when the administration comes
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bearing estimates, it's not a bad idea to look for a second opinion. all the more so if they say they're in a hurry. americans are telling us that health care is too important to rush. they're saying it's too important to base our decisions on this issue solely on the estimates that we're getting from the same people who brought us the stimulus and cash for clunkers. the american people want to know what they're getting into when it comes to changing health care in this country. and while i have no doubt the administration is trying, americans need some assurance that the estimates they're getting are accurate. and if recent experience is any guide, they have reason to be as skeptical as the car deal history said this to a reporter last week: "if they can't administer a program like this, i'd be a little concerned about my health insurance."
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mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: what is the pen pending business before the -- i ask unanimous consent that further reading under the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: what's the penning business before the senate? -- what's the pending business before the senate? the presiding officer: the senate in a period of morning business. mr. mccain: at what time was the senate intending to move back to consideration of the fiscal year 2010 agriculture appropriations bill?
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the presiding officer: the majority still has eight minutes remaining on morning business. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that at this time we return to the agricultural appropriations bill that was pending before the senate. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 2997, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 105, h.r. 2997, an act making approximatelies for agriculture and so forth and for other purposes. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimousus consent to call up amendment number 1910 which is at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccaning, proposes amendment numbered 1910. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: wowcts.
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mr. mccain: mr. president, i intend to have considered three amendments, and i discussed it with the majority leader and the republican leader how we would proceed. and so at this time -- and so after i make a brief remark about amendment number 1910, i'll be calling up amendment number 1912 and amendment number 2030, both of which are at the desk. mr. president, the amendment number 1910 eliminates, as suggested and recommended strongly by the president of the united states, the u.s. department of agriculture's high energy cost grant program. this is a $17.5 million subsidy designed to pay for energy generation systems in rural areas. this program was proposed for termination by the
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administration because it's duplicative of existing programs, including the usda's own ruler utility service loan program. under the fiscal year 2010 budget, the rural utility service program would provide $6.6 billion in electric loans at no cost to the taxpayers. in comparison, providing $17.5 million in grants as opposed to a loan actually costs the taxpayer $17.5 million. moreover, senators should know there's $20 million in unobligated high energy cost grants still available from the previous year. mr. president, this is the submission to congress, "the budget of united states for fiscal year 2010," by the office
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of management and budget. and guess what? in there is a page that is titled "termination: high energy cost grant, department of agriculture." and it goes on to say, "the administration proposals proposes to eliminate the high-energy cost loan grants program because it is duplicative and has of and less effective than the rural utility services electric loan program." mr. president, that's not my words. that's the words of the director of the office of management and budget, who at the direction of the president of the united states prepared this document of certain programs that should be eliminated. he goes on to say, the 2010 budget proposes elimination of the dumb cayive high-energy cost grants -- the duplicative high-energy cost grant program in favor of electric loans which are more cost-effective from the
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standpoint of the taxpayer. using loans to provide support is less expensive than using grants because loans provide more support with fewer appropriated dollars. for example, the 2010 budget provides for $6.6 billion in electric loans at no cost to the taxpayer. in comparison, providing $18 million in grants costs the taxpayers $18 million. in addition, the funds for high-energy cost grants have not been obligated in a timely manner and $20 million in balances from previous year funding are still available." so, in other words, mr. president, this amendment eliminates a duplicative, unnecessary program according to the director of the office of management and budget and at the president's request, as sent over, this is one of the
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programs that they want eliminated. so somehow tends up back in the appropriations bill. so, it seems to me, it's pretty clear-cut case again. that we have to at some point try to make some kinds of cost savings. and i admit, thrown around billions and trillions of dollars as we do here lately, $17.5 million is probably not much money given the kinds of behavior that the congress and the administration's been up to lately. i would still argue, though, with millions of americans, including those in my home state of arizona, $17.5 million that in the view of the administration and a clear argument -- it's not a complicated issue -- should be eliminated. so i hope that we will be able to vote on this amendment. mr. president, i will now ask
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unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendment number 1912 which is at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, proposes an amendment numbered 1912 to amendment number 1908. mccain mccain mr. president, this amendment eliminates the us -- mr. mccain: this amendment eliminates the small watersheds program. this program is a textbook example of how reckless earmarking can devastate a government program. like the previous four president s' budgets, the administration proposes to terminate this account because -- and i quote -- "congress has earmarked virtually all of this program in recent years, meaning that the agency is unable to prioritize projects on any merit-based criteria, such as
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cost effectiveness. according to the congressional research service, the small watersheds program was 97% earmarked in fiscal year 2009 with severely marginalized usda'sable to evaluate and prioritize projects. earmarks may partly be to blame for the findings of a 2003 office of management and budget study that showed this program has a lower economic return than any other federal flood prevention programs, including those in the army corps of engineers and the federal emergency management agency. in the onslaught of earmarks over the years have almost certainly contributed to the current backlog of about 300 unfunded authorized small watershed projects totaling $1.2 billion. as it was originally intended,
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the small watersheds program may be a worthwhile program. and i'm sure we'll hear a vigorous defense of this program. but by inundating it with so-called congressionally designated projects, the program is challenged to function properly to the point where the administration would rather see it gone. nonetheless, our friends on the appropriations committee haven't given up on plundering it just yet. this bill provides $24.3 million for this program, including $16.5 million in earmarks for projects like $2 million for the potasset river in rhode island, which is not authorized. $1.5 million for dunlop creek in virginia which isn't authorized. and $1 million for the page county watershed in illinois, which isn't authorized. just to name a few. now, mr. president, i refer back
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again to the office of management and budget entitled "terminations, reductions and savings." and the administration proposes to terminate watershed and flood prevention operations program. the congress has earmarked virtually all of this program in recent years, meaning that the agency is unable to prioritize projects on any merit-based criteria, such as cost-effectiveness. so, mr. president, again, these first two amendments, the president of the united states, the office of management and budget, most any casual observer would argue need to be eliminated. mr. president, now i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendment number 2030, which is at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, proposes an amendment numbered 2030 to amendment number 1908.
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mr. mccain: mr. president, this amendment is very simple t. prohibits funding of a $250,000 earmark with the iowa vitality center at iowa state university. this earmark is a textbook example of how difficult it is to stop funding for an earmark once it starts. according to the web site of the earmark's sponsor, since fiscal year 2001, the iowa vitality center has received $2.5 million. and for what? what is so vital about the iowa vitality center that it has acquired over $2.5 million of scarce taxpayer funds? well, according to their own web site -- quote -- "the purpose of the iowa community vitality center is to serve as a catalyst
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in fostering collaborative public-private partnerships among nonmetro community interests to stimulate vitality and address barriers to growth." i'm not making that up. i'm not making it up. that's what the web site says. let me repeat. we spent $2.5 million -- quote -- "the purpose of the iowa community vitality center is to serve as a catalyst in fostering collaborative public-private partnerships among nonmetro community interests to stimulate vitality and address barriers to growth." is there anyone who has a clue as to what that means? mr. president, i want to be clear. i'm not questioning the merits of this program, but i am questioning the process. why was this funding earmarked? if the vitality center is such a
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critical national priority at this time, why wasn't the funding authorized since 2001, or requested by the president in his budget submission? the funding for the vitality center is often justified as helping communities -- quote -- "plan strategically and as representing diverse interests across the state." however, the sponsors of the earmark neglected to explain why ten years of strategic planning has been insufficient to accomplish the center's stated purpose. our current economic situation and our vital national security interest concerns require that now more than ever we prioritize our federal spending. we need to prove to the american people that we're serious about changing the way we do business, and we should start with ending the practice of earmarking. we need to put our national priorities first and eliminate
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unnecessary, wasteful earmarks like the iowa vitality center. the agricultural appropriations bill for the year 2010 spends about $123 billion in direct and mandatory spending, an amount that is approximately $234 million above the administration's budget request. we debate this legislation in the shadow of the fiscal year 2009 omnibus bill. the omnibus bill which doled out $108 billion for the u.s. department of agriculture programs as well as the infamous economic stimulus package which provided another $26.5 billion in agricultural spending. 2009 is certainly a good year to be a u.s. department of agriculture program office.
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i acknowledge that many of the programs funded by this bill are valued for providing important services to the agricultural community at large. and i commend the members of the senate appropriations committee for reporting this bill in a timely manner. i agree that we should ensure that our farmers stay out of the red and that some federal involvement is necessary to assist low-income families under nutrition programs. unfortunately, congress once again has conformed to the practice of diverting precious taxpayer dollars into an array of special interest pork projects which have not been authorized or requested, and in a case of two of these have been requested to be terminated by the administration. the committee report accompanying this bill contains 296 congressionally directed spending items, a fanny new term
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for earmarks -- a fanny new term for earmarks totaling over $220 million. none of these were requested by the administration. no hearing was held to judge whether or not these were national priorities worthy of the scarce taxpayers pore dollars. they are in this bill for one reason and one reason only. because of the prerogatives of a select few members of the senate who choose to serve their own interests over those of the american taxpayer. let's take a look at some of the earmarks. let's just take a look at some of the earmarks that are in this bill and its accompanying report. $250,000 for gypsy moth research in new jersey. don't gypsy moths travel all over the country? why just new jersey? over the past ten years, the taxpayer has funded $42.8
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million worth of gypsy moth research. $500,000 for the hemlock wooly adelgid at the university of tennessee. this is an aphid-like insect. that's a lot of money for that bug. $235,000 for noxious weed management in nevada. i think a better term for this one is obnoxious. over the past ten years, over $15.4 million has been earmarked for nevada noxious weed management. $200,000 for cotton research at texas tech university. congress subsidizes the industry, the cotton industry to the tune of $3 billion a year. $300,000 for floraculture at the university of hawaii. nearly $3.5 million has been
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earmarked for floraculture in the past ten years. $155,000 for research at the maple center at the university of vermont. "maple syrup science is a nose and mouth science. a technical term means you put it in your mouth and taste it, says perkins. we get people who know the flavor of maple syrup and off flavors and they try each one. laboratory trefts using gas cromophotography offers being supplements." since 1998, the university of vermont research center has received over $2.1 million in
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earmarks. $75,000 for farm safety education for children in iowa. who better than a bureaucrat in washington to teach a farmer's children how to be safe? a ten-year total for earmarks for iowa farm safety education, over $4.2 million. $300,000 for shrimp abg culture research at the -- aqua culture research at the university of mississippi thad cochran marine research center. over the past ten years we've earmarked over $30.4 million on shrimp aquaculture research. $1 million for potato research at oregon state university. we've earmarked over the past ten years $7.1 million for potato research.
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$600,000 is gobbled down by the national wild turkey federation for projects in nebraska, georgia, mississippi and south carolina. since fiscal year 2004, the national wild turkey federation has received over $1.7 million in earmarks. $265,000 for minimizing blackbird damage to sunflowers in north and south dakota. this is an earmark regular for the agriculture appropriations bill *fplt evidently the south dakota sunflowers have a rather serious alfred hitchcock's birds problem. according to the usda, blackbird management in north and south dakota has received over $1.2 million over the past five years. $200,000 for washington state university to study goat grass. since 2003, $767,000 has been earmarked for goat grass
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research. $372,000 for the university of pennsylvania to study farm -- to study dairy farm profitability. if you're relying on a federally funded study to make your dairy farm profitable, you might want to find a new business plan because nearly $3.8 million has been earmarked for dairy farm profitability over the last ten years. dz 288,000 for -- $288,000 for the iowa soy bean association. over $300 million has been earmarked for the iowa soy bean association. $1 million for moran contradict control in -- cricket control in nevada. $260,000 for wine grape research at washington state university. according to washington state university's own website the
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wine industry generate generates $3 billion industry in their state so we're going to pour another $260,000 into it. $350,000 for the wisconsin department of agriculture to support the -- quote -- "speciality meats industry." speciality meats industry. since 2004, the wisconsin speciality meats industry has received over $12.7 million in earmarks. $340,000 for the center for beef excellence in pennsylvania. according to their own press release the center was established by the pennsylvania department of agriculture just last year. at least we can agree that a $340,000 handout from congress is quite a good start. over $1 million has been earmarked to the center for beef excellence since 2005.
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$405,000 for university of northern iowa to study agriculture-based lubricants and they received over $3 million over the last 10 years. it's not surprising the largest earmark in this bill goes to hawaii. bagging $5 million to continue construction of an agriculture research service study center to study agriculture practices in the pacific. as my colleagues might know, a.r. s.con strution is one of the -- a.r.s. construction is one of the most heavily earmarked. zeroing out the construction for the fiscal year 2010 because and i quote -- "from the president's -- from the president's budget -- quote -- "congress routinely earmarks small amounts of funding for these projects located throughout the nation. the result of scattered funding
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in this manner is that few, if any of the projects are able to reach the critical threshold of funding that would allow construction to being. funding construction over such a long time significantly increases the amount of money need to fully complete these projects as well as postponing their completion for many years." so here we have a program that's earmarked so severely that it delays and drives up the costs of approved construction prompts. not only are we funding this hawaiian facility, the bill provides a total of $47 million for a list of 15 of these facilities ranging from $4 million for a fruit lab in west virginia to $2 million for an animal waste research facility in kentucky. so another amendment that i filed proposes to strike th
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the $50.7 million contained in this bill for usda's resource conservation and development program known as rc and d's. the rc and d program was created in 1962 to promote resource conservation through a community based conservation leadership council. the rc and d council helped to leverage local founding for efforts like soil mapping or erosion control. the administration supports terminating this program because in their own words after 47 years the goal of the rc and d program has been accomplished much these councils have developed sufficiently strong state and local ties and are now able to secure funding for their continued operation without federal assistance. the program has been in operation for decades and these councils have a proven track record of success showing that they have outlived the need for federal funding.
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a half century's old program proposed for termination by this administration yet retained by appropriation -- appropriators for its spoils. i could go on for a long time. this bill funds several other government programs that were proposed for termination in the president's budget. i filed amendments to strike these programs as well as zero out the a.r.s. construction account. if successfully adopted these amendments would save the taxpayers over $144.5 million. and, as i said throughout my comments, some of these programs may have merit and may be helpful to the designated communities. but considering our current budgetary crisis, it's inappropriate to include them on this year's agriculture spending bill especially when they've been identified for termination or reduction. i hope my colleagues will agree that we have higher spending
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priorities that are directly related to the purposes of this agriculture bill. this bill is intended to address farmers, women, and children and rural communities with the greatest need and should not be used as a vehicle for biggybacking -- piggybacking pet projects. it is no surprise that many of these earmarks are included -- are not included for practical purposes. i know that many of my colleagues have spoken about the economic struggles of america's hard-working farmers an low-income families. the farmers and struggling families i know are tired of watching their hard-earned money go down the drain and i intend to fight every single unnecessary, unrequested, unauthorized earmark in this and every other appropriations bill. mr. president, i filed 313 amendments this bill. the bulk of those amendments seek to strike the 296 earmarks now humorously called
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congressionally directed spending items in the committee report on this bill. i have now offered only three of these amendments. let me assure my colleagues i have no problem with offering, debating each and every one of the amendments i filed. the time has come to end this practice. and i want to say again, mr. president, this -- this first amendment which we may vote on today, i want to emphasize it eliminates as recommended by the president and the office of management and budget the u.s. department of agriculture's high-energy cost grant program. $7.5 million subsidy designed to pay for energy generation systems in rural areas. it was proposed for termination by the administration because it's dupely kaive -- duplicative of existing programs and under the fiscal year 2010 budget the rural utility tv's program would
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provide $6.6 billion in loans at no costs to the taxpayers. senators should know there's $20 million in unobligated high-energy cost grants still available from last year. mr. president, i urge a yes vote on my amendment and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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a senator: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kohl: mr. president, the senate began work on the agriculture appropriations bill last thursday. senator brownback and i were here then to consider amendments senators might wish to offer. we were back on the bill friday and prepared to consider amendments. it is my hope that we can complete action on the bill today. the filing deadline of first amendment -- first-degree amendments was 3:00 p.m. 30 and a cloture vote is scheduled for 5:30. once we finish this bill the senate has important work to do this week before the start of the august recess. i hope that any senator who has an amendment to offer will come to the floor in the next few hours to see if we can dispose of all remaining issues and make it possible to go to final passage as early as this evening. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up the following amendment which is at
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the desk and ask for its immediate consideration, kohl number 2233. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. kohl mr. president, -- mr. kohl: mr. president -- the presiding officer: the senator will suspend until the clerk reports the amendment. the clerk: the senator from wisconsin, mr. kohl, proposes an amendment number 2233 to amendment number 190. -- 1908. mr. kohl: mr. president, i ask that further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kohl: i ask that this amendment and tester amendment 2230 which has been approved by both sides and ask for their adoption. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the amendments are agreed to. mr. kohl: mr. president, i move to reconsider that vote. mr. brownback: move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. kohl: i suggest the absence of a quorum. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator in kansas. mr. brownback: mr. president, i want to ask first unanimous consent that rashana chin of my office be granted floor privileges during the remainder of the debate of this bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: i ask my colleagues if they have amendments to come to the floor now so we can vote on theesms we hope to move through the -- on these. we hope november through the bill as -- move through the bill as pass as possible to start the the debate on judge sotomayor. i would like to move through this by unanimous consent the cloture vote on this has been scheduled for 5:00 p.m. 30 today -- 55:30 today. mr. president, i send a modification to my amendment number 2229 to the desk and ask -- excuse me. and i ask that my amendment
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number 2229 be accepted as modified. the presiding officer: without objection. the amendment is so modified. mr. brownback: mr. president, this is an amendment that has been cleared by both sides. it's on neglected and rare diseases. senator brown has been asked to be signed on as a cosponsor. i'd ask that the spending legislation be set aside. that this be considered the pending amendment and that it be passed. the presiding officer: without objection. if there is no further debate on the amendment, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it the ayes do have it the amendment is agreed to as modified. mr. brownback: mr. president, while we're trying -- what we're trying to do, as i mentioned, work through the amendments to the degree that we can. we certainly want to and i would ask our colleagues to bring those to the floor as much as we
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possibly can. mr. president, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mrs. hagan: i would ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for approximately 10 minutes. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mrs. hagan: i would ask that be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: i would like to
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speak for 10 minutes as if no morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: thank you. i'm pleased to rise in support of judge sonia sotomayor's nomination to be associate justice of the supreme court of the united states. judge sotomayor's background demonstrates that she is an extremely well qualified mainstream judge who has the utmost respect for precedent and believes in fidelity to the law. i've always said that i do not believe in a litmus test for judicial nominees and that i will look to the nominee's record as a whole. judge sotomayor's record in its entirety is nothing short of impressive. with 17 years on the federal bench, she has more federal judicial experience than any supreme court nominee in 100 years. judge sotomayor has a compelling pull yourself up by your boot straps personal story.
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she was raised by a single mom who emphasized education as she struggled to support her family while working as a nurse. with her mother's strong work ethic and focus on education deeply ingrained in her, judge sotomayor went to o to graduate summa cum laude from prince ton and she received her law degree -- princeton and she received her law degree from yale law cool. she then become a prosecutor in the manhattan district attorney's office where she was tough on criminals and gained valuable perspective for her later perspective as a judge. she also became active in many areas of her community, showing her desire to serve others and to promote justice in society. having served as a volunteer for many efforts in my hometown of greensboro, north carolina, i know how serving others can enhance one's understanding and appreciation of the world. after her time as a prosecutor,
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judge sotomayor went into practice as a commercial litigator where she dealt with business and finance law, an area importance to my state of north carolina. in 1991, upon the recommendation of then-senator daniel patrick moynihan of new york, she was nominated by president george h.w. bush to serve as a federal judge for the southern district court of new york. and in 1992, she was unanimously confirmed for that position by the united states senate. while civic as a district court judge, she was known for her toughness, fairness, and dedication to the law, characteristics of a strong judge. because of her outstanding record on the district court level, judge sotomayor was nominated in 1997 by president william jefferson clinton to serve as a judge on the united states courts of appeal for the second district -- for the
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second circuit. and in 1998, the senate confirmed her by wide margin. among the senators voting for her confirmation was former north carolina senator jesse helms. i would like t to think that senator helms saw in judge sotomayor the same qualities that president obama saw: fairness of mind, supreme intellect, and an unsurpassed devotion to the and to our system of government. some opponents have repeatedly brought up a few select comments made by judge sotomayor to suggest that she will not be impartial. however, judge sotomayor has made it clear that she does not let her background influence her interpretation of the law. her statements to the judiciary committee and her 17-year record on the bench confirm this. as judge sotomayor has said -- let me quote this -- quote --
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"my record shows that at no point or time have i ever permitted my personal views or sympathies to influence an outcome of a case. in every case where i have identified a sympathy, i have articulated it and explained to the litigant why the law requires a different result." judge sotomayor has also said that as much as her experiences influence her perspective, they have also taught her to be aware of other people's perspective. in 2001, she said -- quote again -- "i am reminded each day that i render decisions that affect people concretely and that i owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that i reevaluate them and change as circumstances
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and cases before me require." as judge sotomayor said i at her confirmation hearing, her underlying judicial philosophy is fidelity to the lawment -- law. in an independent study, supreme court expert tom goldstein looked at 97 race-related cases in which judge sotomayor participated while on the second circuit. he found that she and the rest of her panel rejected discrimination claims roughly 80 times and agreed with them 10 times. the circuit rejected discrimination claims by a margin of 8-1. goldstein wrote, "of the ten cases favoring claims of discrimination, nine were unanimous. and of those nine, in seven of them, the unanimous panel included at least one republican-appointed judge." given that record, goldstein
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concluded, "it seems absurd to say that judge sotomayor allows race to affect her decision making." judge sotomayor has also demonstrated that she does not legislate from the bench and that she gives deference to congress in clarifying the intent of laws. in her dissent to the majority's opinion in heyden vs. pitaki, judge sotomayor wrote -- "the duty of a judge is to follow the law, not to question its plain terms. i do not believe that congress wishes us to disregard the plain language of any statute or to invent exceptions to the statu statutes it has created." she also said that, "i trust that congress would prefer to make any needed changes itself rather than to have the courts do so for it." additionally, a comprehensive study of judge sotomayor's criminal appellate decisions by
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the majority staff of the senate judiciary committee found as an appellate judge that sotomayor sat with republican-appointed judges on more than 400 criminal cases. in those cases, she agreed with all republican-appointed judges 97% of the time. and she agreed with at least one republican-appointed judge 99% of the time. judge sotomayor's sensible attitude toward following the law and her ability to objectively evaluate all angles of her cases has resulted in high ratings and endorsement by numerous organizations. the american war associatio amen unanimously found sotomayor to be well qualified, which is the highest rating the a.b.a. gives to judicial nominees. the congressional research service conducted an analysis of her opinions and concluded, "as
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a group, the opinions belie easy gatt gorization along easy ideological -- gatt gorizeation along ease ideological system. her approach as an appellate judge has been an adherence to the doctrine of stare decisis -- in other words, the upholding of past judicial precedence." judge sotomayor has an impressive list of law enforcement endorsements and supporters, including the international association of chiefs of police, the national association of police organizations, the national district attorneys' association, the fraternal order of police, the national latino police officers association, the federal law enforcement officers association, the federal hispanic law enforcement officers association, the national organization of black law enforcement executives, and
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the national sheriffs association. judge sotomayor has also been endorsed by the u.s. chairma chf commerce, which stated -- "the chamber evaluated judge sotomayor's record from the standpoint of legal scholarship, judicial temperament and an understanding of business and economic issues. based on the chamber's evaluation of her judicial record, judge sotomayor is well qualified to serve as an associate justice of the u.s. supremsupreme court." the nonpartisan brennan center for justice reviewed all of judge sotomayor's constitutional law decisions and said, "based on this exhaustive review, the conclusion is unmistakable in constitutional law cases that judge sotomayor is solidly in the mainstream of the second circuit." judge sotomayor's former law clerks wrote a letter endorsing
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her nomination in which they said, "as former law clerks to judge sotomayor, each of us can attest to her intellectual prowess, extraordinary work ethic and commitment to the rule of law. working for judge sotomayor is an awe-inspiring experience. we each have the privilege of working closely with her as she confronted and resolved incredibly complex and intellectually demanding legal challenges. judge sotomayor approaches each case with an open mind and arrives at her decision only after carefully considering all of the pertinent facts and applicable rules of law. the law clerk said that they agree with mr. of judge many ofe sotomayor's other colleagues who he say they respect her collegiality and balanced and fair jurisprudence. mr. president, i would like to thank and congratulate the members of the judiciary committee for holding an
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extraordinarily civil and open supreme court nomination proce process. i commend president obama for selecting a woman, an hispanic and, above all, an extremely well qualified nominee. and i am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this historic moment, and if she is confirmed, i believe she will serve our country well. based on my conversations with the nominee, her statements in her confirmation hearings and my review of her record, i intend to support her confirmation when it is voted upon later this week, and i urge my colleagues to do the same. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. kohl: mr. president, i join my colleagues in congratulating senator leahy and senator sessions for their work on the sotomayor nomination. the process was fair to both sides and, most importantly, fair to the nominee. i am pleased today to rise in support of judge sotomayor, an
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individual whose life story is an inspiration to millions of americans. a child of immigrants with modest means, judge sotomayor has risen by didn't of exemplary academic accomplishment and hard work to the cusp of confirmation to our nation's highest court. but judge sotomayor is much more than just a story of accomplishment. she has shown herself to be a judge truly worthy of elevation to the supreme court. both on the bench and before this committee, judge sotomayor has proved that she has the necessary character, competence, and integrity to serve on the supreme court. her distinguished 17-year record on the bench demonstrates a commitment to fair and impartial application of the law and respect for the values which make up our constitution. at her hearing, judge sotomayor assured us that she will listen with an open mind to all sides of an argument and that she will be mindful of the very real impact her dislitionz have on
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each -- decisions will have on each and every american. she pledged fidelity to the constitution and to the court's precedent as well as responsibility to cautiously review precedent when justice requires. as we conclude the senate's action on judge sotomayor's nomination this week, i believe we need to reflect upon the role that confirmation hearings play in the senate's duty to advise and consent. while i have no reservations about my support for judge sotomayor, i share the concerns expressed by many americans, legal commentators and others on the judiciary committee about our committee's ability to have candid and substantive conversation with nominees about the -- about the issues americans care about. we all know that the confirmation process is crucial. it is the public's only opportunity to learn about a nominee before he or she serves for life on the highest court in our landmen -- land. but for many years now, we've
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seen a familiar pattern from nominees, democratic and republican alike, who have learned that the path of least resistance is to limit their responses and cautiously cloak them in generalities. wanteddably, nominees -- understandably, nominees don't want to risk their confirmation by saying anything that might provoke potential opponents. and we cannot ask nominees to disclose how they would vote on cases that might come before them, but it is reasonable for to us ask them to speak more openly about past supreme court decisions and how they would decide cases that are close calls, what reasoning they would use and what factors they would consider. the concerns i raise do not reflect any personal criticism about judge sotomayor. i think she respond to our committee's questions with great intelligent electricity and sincerity and that -- intellect and sincerity and that she has rightly earned bipartisan ways. however, i hope going forward we can explore ways to achieve the great candor to the confirmation procesess both demands and deserves.
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for example, we could convene a bipartisan group of judiciary committee members, members of the bar, constitutional scholars and perhaps even members of the media who have experience following the court and our hearings to help us determine what specific questions we can and should expect substantive answers about. if we can do this the committee's unique opportunity to engage nominees in the great legal questions facing our nation will more effectively serve our committee. i commend president obama for nominating judge sotomayor who has demonstrated a commitment to public services and to the law and i look forward to her tenure on the court. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: i ask the pending amendment be set aside to call up amendment 2441.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nebraska, mr. johanns, for himself and mr. nelson proposes amendment 2441. mr. johanns: i ask unanimous consent further reading be dispensed. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. johanns: mr. president, i rise to discuss my amendment to increase funding for usda's tuberculosis program by $2 million. early june, t.b. was discovered in beef cattle herd in rock county, nebraska. as many of my colleagues know, this is a disease that can spread very quickly among cattle. it is also transmissible to humans. this is not just a nebraska issue or a midwest issue. as i speak, california, michigan, minnesota, new mexico, are battling the effects of t.b. and other states including colorado, south dakota and texas have had t.b. scares, as well,
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but thankfully, they have in the seen any change in their tuberculosis status. this problem could impact the beef industry nationwide and it is critical we do everything we can to eliminate it immediately when it's discovered. now, in nebraska, thankfully, only two animals in the entire herd tested positive for the disease. and they were put down t to prevent spread. state officials have worked side-by-side with usda officials to test the infected herd as well as several neighboring herds which is the process. based on the latest reports if home, 8,900 cattle have been tested and all have, thankfully, testified negative for t.b. that's great news. i commend the efforts of the veterinarians and the government
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officials on the ground in nebraska. i thank the efforts of those officials. i thank those officials for their efforts. they have been aguessively dealing with this issue every day since the initial discovery. and i would like to thank the usda specifically for providing significant expertise and personnel to assist with the ongoing testing. the department's assistance has been sound. it's been steady. we greatly appreciate. but the work has not yet done. the testing is not quite complete of the hopefully the results keep coming back negative. but regardless, we're going to remain vigilant. we must make sure that the usda, though, has the resources on hand to spend in the event that further cases of t.b. are discovered. that would be anywhere in this country. t.b. can have a crippling impact
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on a state's beef industry. it can negatively impact the ability of state producers to ship cattle state to state and, of course, potentially, it can have an impact on export markets. ranchers cannot afford to have third state lose its t.b.-free status. any time a disease like t.b. is discovered in a herd it is absolutely critical that the infected herd be depopulated immediately. i say that from my experience as a former secretary of agriculture. depopulation is oftentimes essential. doing so significantly decreases the likelihood of the spread of the disease. it also reassures the rest of the beef industry that we will always respond decisively to combat the spread of the animal disease. we need to send a strong signal to our producers that they will
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have our support if they come forward when they discover that the herd has a problem. if depopulation indemnity funds are not available, madam president, a producer literally may hesitate to disclose the information. then the problem festers and it spreads. we simply cannot take that kind of risk. consumer confidence and producer trust are far too important. it is imperative we maybe sure usda has the funding and the tools on hand to deal with existing t.b. problems and to take swift action in the event of future t.b. discoveries. well, that's why i'm offering this amendment, to make sure that the resources are there. now, madam president, at this point i ask unanimous consent a
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letter supporting my amendment from the national cattleman's beef association be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: finally, madam president, i urge my colleagues to support this very important amendment to make the resources seabl tresourceavailable to thee my colleagues, if they have any questions, to get in touch with us. this is a very important issue. with that, thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. kohl: the senator's amendment would increase the amount of this bill from $15.7 million to $17.7 million. the amendment would require at least $3 million to compensate products for losses. i'm sorry, except producers for losses. the secretary has access to the
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commodity credit corporation to compensate producers and we hope the secretary will use those funds as needed. since this amendment would reduce other animal and plant health activities, i must oppose it at this time. mr. brownback: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. brownback: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in america morning for as long as i may consume. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: i urge my colleagues to come forward and speak, we have already cleared some amendments and need to move forward but something happened yesterday that affected my state directly and that was the statement by the administration or lead from the administration they were considering to move guantanamo detainees to my state associated with fort leavenworth and this has riled everyone up.
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i was there this morning before flying here and we had a crowd of 100 that came out after very short notice. virtually unanimous in their opinions -- not everybody, but close to everybody -- opposed to this idea. for multiple reasons. moving guantanamo bay detainees to fort leavenworth area will not work to start. it will significantly hurt the educational and international mission of the fort and on top of that, it's totally unnecessary. i would really hope that the administration would start and rethink this idea on moving the guantanamo bay detainees. i really think it's a bad idea we replicate the facility we have at guantanamo bay in the united states. we have a facility there to hold detainees. we have a facility there to try the detainees. it's set up. i was there and load a congressional delegation a couple of months ago. they are being hue mainly treated -- humanely treated and
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if they are not let's work on fixing guantanamo bay rather than move them to the united states. if there are problems let's fix them rather than say we will change the name of the place and move the detain hes from guantanamo to leavenworth and not change the world opinion of the united states one iota by substituting the name "leavenworth" for "guantanamo." that delays the trials of the detainees by building a replica of what we have at guantanamo bay but somewhere else. it would cost hundreds of millions that we don't have when we're already having a $1 trillion debt growing at a rate of $2 trillion a year. why spend hundred hundreds of ms and a process that slows everything down? this does not make sense. on top of that what is being considered at leavenworth will not work. leavenworth, the fort at
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leavenworth, i talk to my colleagues -- i hope they will look at the factual setting. the fort leavenworth is one of the small of the army bases we have around the world, eight square miles. it abouts and part of an urban area of kansas city. it has on its borders, a river, and a train that goes through every 25 minutes. it is not the secure facility that you would need for the detainees. we don't have any setbacks lick a number of other facilities and it has one of the highest population densities per square mile or-square-foot of any military base because it houses the command and general staff college of the military. if i could point out that facility to my colleagues, and i hope some of them come and attend and address the command and general staff college on a regular basis we get students from around the world at that facility. journal ogenerally 90 companies
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have students at -- 90 countries have students at the college. of the 90 countries that sendsts for their army training half will become general flag officers, and a number of them will become leaders, civilian leaders in their own country, as well. so you get the cream of the crop from around the world. they come here, they also meet with our future military leaders and this is the training center they have. it moves a command general staff college at forth leavenworth. that's the primary mission of the fort, that training, and that relationship and inte gigsr integration between them and army forces around the world that is critically important when you go to pakistan, afghanistan, or working with jordan or egyptians -- just to name a few. they send letters from all the countries, future flag officers to fort leavenworth to be trained.
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we have heard in canvassing students from jordan, egypt, and pakistan, that they will pull their students from fort leavenworth if the detainees are moved there. they don't want to have their military hers, their future military leaders at the sam -- e place the detainees are being held. so you will hurt the core mission of fort leavenworth in a facility that does not have setbecomes tsetbacks to handle o gain. i talked with the commanding general yesterday calling him after hearing of the report on msnbc. that is how i got the news. my wife was on the interpre intn msnbc's website and sees they are thinking of moving gitmo detainees to leavenworth or michigan. that didn't set very well with me that is how i learned of this to start with.
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and i started calling around, calling the commanding general and he learned about it late, as well. and has difficulties although he is a military man and he will salute and take orders and do what directed. but he is not, i don't -- and home needs to be asked and brought into testify about what his opinion would be about this. i talked to the governor in kansas last night about this. the governor, democrat governor, has issued a statement previously opposed to this move taking place. the congressman, congress woman from the 85 wa area was there, opposed. the mayor is opposed to this move. we have voted in this body virtually unanimously, as close to a unanimous vote you have to work with local officials but the difficulty mowewake up and g
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paper and no one has been consulted about it. now, i want to say that the detainees, in my estimation, deserve appropriate and humane treatment and they deserve to be treated under our international obligations. and if they are not getting that, then that needs to be changed and it needs to be changed at guantanamo bay. i hope we have international investigations telling us what is not being done. i've not seen any credible international reports this say there are things we are in the done that we should do at guantanamo bay. there is a great category involved here. we have enemy combatants that don't represent a foreign country. that's a big part of the problem. and there is also a very tough area here. and that is, and i saw this when i was at guantanamo bay, a number of the detainees are continuing the fight today.
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while in prison. at gitmo, they continue the fight. 10 whoever gets these or takes these detainees is going to have to be prepared to have the continuation of the war on terrorism happening near them and happening in the prison facility. that's not everybody, but some of them continue to fight in prison. and that's going to be a difficult situation for whoever it is to handle. on top of that, a number of our folks at leavenworth -- and we have prisons located in the facility and the town is proud of their ability to handle various prisoners -- their concern is not keeping so much the detainees in, because you can staff up for that, but it's keeping out people that would seek to get in or to make a statement around and in that area. and, plus, they would have to scale up their facilities. we have a medium-security bureau of prison facility. it's not maximum. we have a dominated medium-security disciplinary barrack there and we have space
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for 25 maximum-security prisoners, only 25. and you'd have to manufacture out all the current military -- and you'd have to move out all the current military personnel that has been convicted in military courts's a. we are not situated to be able to handle this. it would cost a huge amount of money to do this and it would not be safe to do it at leavenworth. it is a bad idea for us to do this there. i would really ask the president, ask the president to come to leavenworth. he was invietvited by the mayor this morning, and look at the facility and examine it himself. the attorney general to come to eleven woncleavenworth, examinee facility, and see what estimate they come up after looking at the facility. i understand they're looking at some kind of hybrid facility but we don't have the situation to be able to house it in kansas. on top of all that, i really would ask the president to just listen to the american people.
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the american people don't want these detainees moved to the united states. they don't want to hurry up artificial time lines set for moving the detainees to the united states, and they feel like that the president should be listening to them and not to european leaders or somebody else around the world that just doesn't like the guantanamo bay facility and it's got a bad name. say, listen to the american people on this. i would ask that he'd come and talk to members of the congress that may be impacted by this and ask our opinion and to look at what is taking place here. this is being rushed, it's on an artificial time deadline. it doesn't have to be happen. it'll cost hundreds of millions of dollars to do this and it'll slow the process down. this is a bad idea chasing a bad idea with an artificial time line. i'd ask that the president would not do that, and we are going to be fighting here, my colleague and i from kansas, every step of the way from this facility being
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moved to kansas, representing our constituents who do not want these detainees moved to kansas. and we're going to fight it every step of the way. with that, i'd yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. kohl: i ask the quorum call be resindle. the presiding officerresindle. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kohl: i have three requests for committees to meet during today session of the senate. i ask that these requests be greed and these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kohl: suggest susmght. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. kohl: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wisconsin. mr. kohl: i ask that the quorum call be reunderstand ised. officer without objection. .com kohl i have received a statement from the administration policy, a statement of -- mr. kohl: i have received a statement of administration policy relating to the agriculture appropriations bill and i would like to read from that document at this time. "the administration sphrongly supports senate passage of h.r. 2997, with the committee-reported text of is $1406 making ave proceedings for agriculture rural development, food and drug administration and related agencies programs for fiscal year ending september 30, 30,2010, a strong rural america is central to the nation's future. it makes investments in infrastructure so economic
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progress does not bypass rural communities. the legislation also provides the resources necessary to keep food and medicine safe and reliable. it provides critical support for farmers to continue the nation's leading role in feeding the world. in addition, this legislation addresses chronic problems facing americans, including poverty, nutrition and housing. moreover, the legislation responds to the president fsz call for investments in programs that work while ending programs that do not. this legislation gives priority to merit-based funding and critical infrastructure programs. the administration urges the congress to continue to apply high standards to funding decisions so that taxpayer money is spent efficiently and effectively." madam president, i am grateful that the executive branch has recognized the good work done to craft this bill in a way that meets the serious requirements of our country. i again want to thank the ranking member, senator brownback, for his help.
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this is a good bill and, again, i urge all senators to support its passage. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: roll rovmenthe clerk will call the r. quorum call:
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mr. udall: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: madam president, i ask to dispense with the quorum call which is in progress, i believe. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: and i ask unanimous consent to speak for -- in morning business for 12 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. i rise today to talk about judge sotomayor's experience and i want to also talk about sympathy. in the period since president obama nominated judge sotomayor, some of her opponents have done their best to give empathy a bad name. i think that is a shame. i think it would be sad for us to confirm sonia sotomayor but allow her empathy to be discredited as a human emotion and a judicial asset. during his confirmation
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hearings, clarence thomas said, quote, "what i bring to this court, i believe, is an understanding and the ability to stand in the shoes of other people across a broad spectrum of this country." justice thomas's description of empathy captures one thing sotomayor would bring to this court: a diversity of experience and the ability to stand in the shoes of other people. during her opening statement before the judiciary committee, judge sotomayor talked about her experience as a prosecutor in new york for the legendary district attorney bob morganthau. in that job, she said -- quote -- "i saw children exploited and abused. i felt the pain and suffering of families torn apart by the needless deaths of loved ones. i saw and learned the tough job law enforcement has in protecting the public." close quote. according to those who knew and
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worked with her, judge sotomayor was an excellent prosecutor. she knew the law. she study the facts. and she did the hard work to keep people safe from crime. and in that difficult job she benefited from her empathy. judge sotomayor felt the pain and suffering of families destroyed by crime. she felt the difficulties law enforcement officers faced and she understood that her job was not just about enforcing the law; it was about ending the suffering that crime brings. during her testimony, judge sotomayor talked about the tarzan case, a famous burglary and murder case that she prosecuted. a quarter of a century later, she still feels deeply the impact of that crime. i was struck by her description of how the murder of a son devastated the lives of his mother and grandmother. how one act of violence produced
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ripples that destroyed a family and weakened a community. how the family and the community demanded justice. when i served as a federal prosecutor, i learned that empathy is every b bit as important as legal knowledge and good judgment. a prosecutor who reads the facts of a crime and cannot empathize with those involved is not just a strange person, he is likely to be an ineffective lawyer. a proper respect for the law demands a recognition that individuals involved in a legal dispute are not abstractions. they are sons and daughters and sisters and brothers, men and women who deserve justice. empathy allows us to recognize that, and that is essential to the practice of law. it is also an essential quality for judges. some members of this body have suggested that empathy is
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inconsistent with impartial judgment. i disagree. judges must first and foremost apply law to facts, but this process is not a mechanical calculation. it requires attention to the human impact of legal decisions. legal reasoning that ignores the human dimension risks inhuman outcomes to human problems. law without efrpl think produces decisions like -- empathy produces decisions like dred scott and plessy vs. ferguson. it gives you reasoned arguments and unreasonable results. when the supreme court ruled in dred scott, its members were applying the law to the facts as they saw them. one fact they took for granted was that dred scott was so different as to be unworthy of legal protections. the taney court could not put themselves in scott's shoes, and the result was such a rebuke to
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the values of this nation that it helped drive us to civil war. when the court wrote in plessy that the separation of the two races does not stamp the colored race with a badge of inferiorty, they were not misinterpreting the law. they just could not feel the sting of segregation. or to put it another way, they failed to show empathy and generations of black citizens paid the price. of course, a judge with empathy must also determine who to empathize with. one of my colleagues has argued that empathy for somebody is always skreplgs against somebody else. -- always discrimination against somebody else. again i disagree. i believe that justice is not a zero-sum game. equal justice for minorities does not mean less justice for
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others. a judge who feels compassion for those who face the legacy of codified bigotry is no less able to sympathize with a white firefighter who has been denied a promotion. the law respects the humanity of every individual. judges can and should do the same. judge sotomayor's explained her experience has helped her. and she says -- and i quote -- "i understand respect and respond to the concerns and arguments of all litigants who appear before me. all litigants." as a prosecutor, judge sotomayor victimized with the victims of crime, but she could also look for a defendant and see a fellow human being, somebody who deserves fairness, if not freedom. as a judge, she has ruled for civil rights claimants and she has ruled against them. she has ruled for prosecutors and for defendants.
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her compassion has not led her to come down on one side or the other. it has helped her to be both wise and fair. to treat every individual with the respect he or she deserves. president obama has nominated a supreme court justice with a wealth of both personal and professional experience. her experience has given her the intelligence to understand the law and the wisdom to apply. but it has also given her something more. judge sotomayor has seen housing projects and ehave i league dorms. she defended those whose society ignores and prosecuted those who ignore society's rules. at the trial and appellate level, she has seen the human drama of american law play out in countless ways. this experience has given her compassion for the diverse
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experiences that make up the american experiment. she understands in a deep and personal way that we all deserve equal justice under the law. i can think of no more important qualification for a supreme court justice. she has earned her right to serve on the nation's highest court, and i look forward to supporting her confirmation. thank you, madam president. and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brownback: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. brownback: madam president, i ask further
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proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: thank you very much. we're attempting to work through some of these amendments and i want to ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside so i may call up amendment 2253 on behalf of senator chambliss, and that the amendment be modified with the changes at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kansas, mr. brownback, for mr. chambliss, proposes amendment 2253 as modified to amendment 1908. mr. brownback: madam president, i ask consent that further reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: it is my understanding that this amendment has been cleared on both sides, and so i would ask unanimous consent that the amendment as modified be agreed to. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment as modified is agreed to. mr. brownback: move to lay on the table. move to reconsider. excuse me. and move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brownback: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: and i would ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for 15 minutes.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. as i rise today, the world is engaged in a high-stakes competition. the country that wins this competition will not only produce jobs today, it will dominate the industries of the future. the competition is the race to create clean-energy jobs. i want america to win. and the united states congress will play a key role in deciding whether we do. but before i talk about the decision we have to make i want to be clear about a decision that america does not have to make. we don't have to decide whether clean energy will be the industry of the future. it will. the clean energy industry is primed to produce millions of jobs in the coming years. the question is whether these jobs will be in america. we have to answer that question -- this question now. if we put our minds to it,
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americans can produce the clean-energy technologies that will power the future. the country that developed the light bulb, the automobile, and the internet will not finish last when it comes to developing new ideas. we need policies to promote new innovation. right now we're falling behind. progressive policies have given other countries the lead. with a population one quarter as large as america's, germany has more than twice as many workers developing wind energy and solar technologies. by 2020 more germans will be producing clean energy than are producing german cars. spain has almost five times as many workers in the solar thermal industry as the united states. china has more than 300 times as many. do we really want to lose this race to germany, to spain, to
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china? some have argued that america cannot lead on climate change. that we'd into -- w we need to wait for countries like china and india to act first. if america solves our energy problems first, every country on earth will beg for the technologies that we developed. if not, we will be begging for technologies developed elsewhere. america has always prospered by being one step ahead. we mass produced the car and american manufacturing built the middle class. we sparked the i.t. revolution and our high-tech revolution gives us high-paying jobs. today being one step ahead means developing the clean-energy technologies of future before anyone else does. waiting for china to address its emission problems before we address ours is like waiting for an opponent to finish the race before we start to lace up our shoes.
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china's not waiting for america to act. it's already implemented strong policies to promote clean energy. chinese fuel-efficiency economy standards are higher today than ours will be in 2020. they have already set a 15% renewable energy standard for 2020. and their government recently said they could reach 20%. and in 2009 china became the world's largest clean-energy investor. it plans to spend nearly half a trillion dollars over 10 years to ensure that clean-energy jobs come to china. and china's policies have already begun to pay off. it is now the leading manfacturer of wind turbines. and it has 65% of the world's solar thermal water heating market. china even beats us in industries we created. america invented solar control
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dayics -- voltaics. i'm not content to let other countries beat us at our own game. it's time to act. the clean-energy bill currently being developed in congress is the kind of action we need. it is a distinctly american solution to this global problem. because it relies on private markets an private businesses. and that is why it provides real change with minimal cost. of course, some people will claim that this plan breaks the bank p defenders of the -- bank. defenders of the status quo never run out of excuses to do nothing. they have made huge profits and clean energy is a threat to them. the same people who developed the science of global warming will tell you a clean energy solution is too expensive. they were wrong about the science then and they are wrong about the economics now.
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in 1990 polluters told america we could not afford the clean-air act. a bipartisan bill signed by a republican president. history has shown that the act actually cost 1/40th of what they said it would the best independent estimate about this bill comes from the nonpartisan congressional budget office. they say it will cost americans less than 50 cents per day. and the c.b.o. numbers likely overestimate costs to keep their analysis simple they ignore the impact of increased deficiency. when you factor in efficiency, americans will end up ahead $4 a month on electricity bills and low-income new mexicans will save even more. the most expensive energy policy america can pursue is the status quo.
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in 2006 i introduced a clean energy bill similar to the bill we're considering now. the month i introduced it gas prices were at$2 .25 a gallon. critics claimed that clean energy would drive up prices. by 2008 the price of gas nearly doubled to high of $4.11. and much of the money that america spends on gas flows right out of this country. today the u.s. is importing nearly 70% of its oil. we sent roughly $4,280 per u.s. family out of the country in 2008 to pay for oil. and too much of that money goes to individuals who finance terrorism and regimes that don't like americans. some will say that the solution is increased -- has in-- is increased oil production. i support increased oil production. my home state of new mexico is one of 10 that produces more oil
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than it consumes. and i'm proud that we help meet america's energy needs. but increased production alone is not enough. america has just 3% of the world's oil reserves. more than 66% of those reserves -- those that are left are in russia, iran, and six other countries in the middle east. the more we depend only on fossil fuels, the more american money will flow to these countries. when it comes to energy, we have to do it all and we have to do it now. since comprehensive clean-energy legislation was first introduced in 2003, we he have sent trillions of dollars abroad every year to pay for oil. actually, and, in fact fact, $700 billion a year. we cannot afford six more years of delay. but the status quo doesn't just threaten our economy and our
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security. it threatens the basis of our way of life. scientists predict that global warming could give my home state of new mexico the same climate as the sanoran desert in ch mex. if that happens forest fires will become more common and more dangerous. our communities will face a bleak economic future. for the children of my state and our country, we cannot afford to stay on this path. fortunately, america has what it takes to change course. even without progressive policies on the national level, new mexico has begun to create massive numbers of clean-energy jobs. between 199 and 2007, clean-energy jobs grew 25 times faster than other jobs. we call these the jobs of the
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future. increasingly they are also the jobs of today. there are too many success stories to tell, but i want to mention just one. just three weeks ago a company called schat solar opened its second nuclear plant. plant currently employs 300 people and it comes two months after the company opened a plant that will eventually employ 1,500. schott decided to locate these plants in new mexico after our state passed a series of clean energy incentives. what i like most about the story is that schott is a german company. it looked at new mexico's policies and decided to invest german money in creating american jobs. for years while american policies makers failed to act, american investors sent our
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capital to germany. now new mexico's forward-looking policies are helping to reverse the flow. what that tells me is that with right policies, america can lead the world in this crucial industry. we can stop creating jobs in saudi arabia and start creating them in new mexico. we can stop letting china develop our technologies and sell them back to us. we can win the clean-energy revolution the same way we won the high-tech revolution, by getting there first or we can he wait and watch the world pass us by. i think the choice is clear. i hope you do. i hope you do also. and i hope you join me in supporting the senate's clean-energy legislation when it comes to the floor. thank you, madam president. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:


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